BOSTON, MASS. (AP) — Gun makers asked a Massachusetts federal court to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed in August by Mexico’s government. It alleged that U.S. gun producers and distributors fuelled violence in Mexico via their illegal and negligent commercial practices.
Beretta U.S.A.Corp., gun manufacturer, claimed there was no basis for the court’s jurisdiction to Beretta in the case.
“Plaintiff refers to the government of Mexico. Beretta is an American corporation. Its corporate home, headquarters and principal place for business are located in Maryland. The plaintiff seeks to redress the damage that occurred in Mexico,” Beretta wrote in a Monday filing.
Other gun manufacturers, such as Smith & Wesson, Colt’s Manufacturing, Glock Inc., Sturm, Ruger & Co., sought to have the suit dropped.
Interstate Arms, a Boston-area distributor that sells guns from all the manufacturers named to dealers across the U.S., is another defendant.
Mexican authorities have argued that the companies knew their actions contributed to the flow of guns to Mexico and helped facilitate it. The government demanded that the companies change their business practices and pay compensation for the violence.
According to Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, 70% of weapons that are trafficked to Mexico originate from the U.S.
Beretta claimed that the Mexican government’s case was weak, stating that no facts in Mexico’s complaint link Beretta’s lawful Massachusetts sales to the economic and financial harm Beretta claims it has suffered in Mexico.
The company stated that “Plaintiff doesn’t allege that Mexican criminals used, received or purchased firearms Beretta sold in Massachusetts.”
Alejandro Celorio a legal advisor in the ministry said Monday via Twitter that their legal department would examine the responses of the manufacturers. Mexico has until January 31st to respond in writing.
Celorio wrote that “Today, litigation is neither won nor lost.”
The filing was made the day after Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary) told the United Nations Security Council, “Insufficient” efforts to combat small arms trafficking had failed.
Mexico holds the rotating presidency at the Council.
Ebrard stated that the private actors need to take decisive measures of self-regulation, monitoring their distribution chains and avoiding illicit trafficking and diversion of guns they produce and/or sell. This will help ensure that the guns they do sell are not stolen into criminal hands.
Claudia Torrens and Christopher Sherman contributed to this article.