(The Center Square) - The Mexican government says American guns fuel criminal enterprises in its country.
Its leaders filed a lawsuit against five gun dealers in U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona, this week. Mexico's lawsuit alleges that the dealers systematically participate in the arms trafficking of military-style weapons.
Mexico says this lawsuit is a part of its strategy to prevent the flow of assault weapons into the country, according to the press release it issued.
Mexico alleges that at least five Arizona gun dealers are making these kinds of weapons available for criminal organizations in the country through sales to straw purchasers and sales meant for arms smugglers.
The gun dealers named in the suit include: (i) Diamondback Shooting Sports, Inc. (Tucson); (ii) SNG Tactical, LLC (Tucson); (iii) Loan Prairie, LLC, known as The Hub Target Sports (Tucson); (iv) Ammo A-Z, LLC (Phoenix), and (v) Sprague's Sports, Inc. (Yuma).
Mexico added that these gun sales contribute to the uptick in drug trafficking in the United States.
"This court action in no way challenges the Constitutional right of U.S. citizens to bear arms, nor the right of stores to sell their products responsibly and lawfully," Mexico said in a press release. "The lawsuit addresses a cause shared by both countries, whose citizens suffer from illicit firearms practices."
Mexico says this lawsuit makes the following arguments: "the sellers do not comply with required safeguards; cause foreseeable damage; use misleading and tendentious advertising; sell guns that are turned into automatic weapons; cause a disturbance of public order, and violate state and federal laws, causing enormous damage in Mexico."
This marks the second lawsuit filed by Mexico against the U.S. arms industry. It filed one in the U.S. District Court in Boston, Massachusetts, against U.S. gun manufacturers last month. However, Judge F. Dennis Saylor ruled last month that Mexico did not have a case due to protections for gun manufacturers established by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005.
Yet, Mexico thinks a favorable ruling in its more recent lawsuit would provide support for its Boston lawsuit.
"it would prove that the gun manufacturers are negligent for not monitoring or disciplining the dealers who sell their products," Mexico wrote in its press release.
Mexico says it is confident that both lawsuits will succeed. The country also says that it is contributing to the global discourse "about halting arms trafficking and the dangerous practices of the arms industry," according to the release.
The lawyers leading Mexico's legal strategy are Steve Shadowen of Shadowen PLLC in Austin, Texas, and Jonathan Lowy of Global Action on Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.