<p>View of guns seized in the arrest of Raul Hernandez Lechuga (not in frame) --an alleged member of drugs cartel "Los Zetas"-- on display during a presentation to the press, in Mexico City, on December 13, 2011.</p>

View of guns seized in the arrest of Raul Hernandez Lechuga (not in frame) --an alleged member of drugs cartel "Los Zetas"-- on display during a presentation to the press, in Mexico City, on December 13, 2011.

AFP via Getty Images

The Mexican government has sued ten of the United States’ top gun manufacturers, alleging that they are knowingly — and illegally — trafficking dangerous weapons into Mexico, resulting in thousands of gun-related deaths a year.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Massachusetts federal court on Wednesday, alleges that the companies are deliberately dispatching weapons to dominant drug cartels and “other criminals,” actively sustaining an operation in which 70 to 90 percent of weapons tracked in Mexico were discovered to have originally come from the United States. The suit also states that “a gun manufactured in the U.S. is more likely to be used to murder a Mexican citizen,” citing statistics from 2019: That year, 17,000 Mexican citizens were killed with U.S. made guns compared with 14,000 American citizens, while Mexico has just 40 percent the population of the U.S. — and just one gun store.

“For decades, the government and its citizens have been victimized by a deadly flood of military-style and other particularly lethal guns that flows from the U.S. across the border,” the lawsuit says, also claiming that the manufactures are utilising ”marketing strategies to promote weapons that are ever more lethal, without mechanisms of security or traceability.”

Mexico recounted three incidents in which Colt’s Manufacturing Company ”specifically target[ed] the Mexican market,” including the production of their “.38-caliber “Emiliano Zapata 1911” pistol, in which the revolutionary hero’s face is engraved. Alongside Zapata’s face was his alleged quote that said, “It is better to die standing than to live on your knees.”

Other companies named in the suit are Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Beretta U.S.A., Beretta Holding; Century International Arms, Glock, Inc, Glock Ges.m.b.H;,Sturm, Ruger & Co., and gun supplier Witmer Public Safety Group, who conducts business as Interstate Arms.

However Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said that the lawsuit might be “a bit of a long shot,” via the New York Times. “It may just be a way to get the attention of the federal government and Biden and the White House so they can sit down and make a deal,” he continued. Eugene Volkhh, a law professor at UCLA, concurred. “It’s perfectly legal to have Mexican revolutionary heroes on your gun,” he said. “There’s no law that prohibits that.”

Still, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard asserted, via press conference, “These weapons are intimately linked to the violence that Mexico is living through today.”

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