A hearing in Mexico’s case against five gun shops in Arizona that was scheduled to go ahead on Monday was canceled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said.
The federal government filed a lawsuit against gun stores in Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma last October, accusing them of involvement in illegal arms trafficking to Mexico.
In a statement on Saturday, the SRE said that the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, cites “tracing data” that shows that the gun stores “routinely supply high-powered firearms to criminal organizations in Mexico.”
“… After the suit was filed, both parties presented their arguments during the written stage of the proceedings,” the ministry said.
“The oral argument was scheduled for August 28, 2023. However, on Thursday, August 24, the judge assigned to the case, Cindy Jorgenson, issued an order canceling the hearing, stating only that she is considering recusing herself from the case. The public will be informed of the new date for the oral argument set by the District Court,” the SRE said.
The government filed its case against the gun stores 10 days after its US $10 billion lawsuit against United States gun manufacturers was dismissed by a Massachusetts federal judge.
Late last month, it presented its arguments in favor of the reopening of that suit, in which it accused gunmakers including Smith & Wesson and Barrett Firearms of negligent business practices that have led to illegal arms trafficking and deaths in Mexico, where U.S.-sourced firearms are used in a majority of high-impact crimes such as homicide.
The SRE said Saturday that a “favorable ruling” in its case against the Arizona gun shops “would strengthen the first lawsuit filed in Boston, since it would prove that the gun manufacturers are negligent for not monitoring or disciplining the dealers who sell their products to criminals.”
It noted that “while the broader Boston lawsuit alleges that the gun manufacturers bear responsibility for their negligence in manufacturing and distributing firearms that facilitates their illicit trafficking to our country, this second lawsuit addresses a specific angle of the issue.”
That issue, the SRE explained is “the negligence of gun dealers that enables criminal organizations in Mexico to acquire their products (for example, through sales to straw purchasers).”
The SRE said in 2019 that firearms from the United States are used in seven out of every 10 high-impact crimes committed in Mexico.
The U.S. said in April that it was “deploying new authorities … to target southbound firearms flows and working with Mexican counterparts to increase firearms tracing to identify and choke off the source of firearms flows into Mexico.”
The task U.S. and Mexican authorities face is an enormous one.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of firearms are smuggled into Mexico from the U.S. each year, while data from the Federal Attorney General’s Office shows that the number of guns seized here annually has been less than 10,000 over the past decade.
Mexico News Daily