U.S. gun manufacturers on Wednesday accused the Mexican government of looking for a scapegoat by filing a civil lawsuit alleging that they engaged in negligent practices that have led to illegal arms trafficking and homicides.
The National Firearm Industry Trade Association (NSSF) said allegations of wholesale cross-border trafficking of guns were “patently and demonstrably false.”
“These allegations are baseless,” said NSSF spokesman Lawrence Keane. “The Mexican government is responsible for the rampant crime and corruption within their own borders. Mexico’s criminal activity is a direct result of the illicit drug trade, human trafficking and organized crime cartels that plague Mexico’s citizens. It is these cartels that criminally misuse firearms illegally imported into Mexico or stolen from the Mexican military and law enforcement.
“Rather than seeking to scapegoat law-abiding American businesses, Mexican authorities must focus their efforts on bringing the cartels to justice.”
The association said all firearms sold at the retail level in the U.S. are sold in accordance with federal and state laws, with an FBI background check.
Mexico filed the suit Wednesday against 11 manufacturers in a federal court in Boston, alleging that they and other gun makers knew that their business practices caused illegal arms trafficking in Mexico.
A government study published last year said that some 2.5 million illicit weapons have crossed the border into Mexico over the past decade.
The gun manufacturers disputed those numbers, claiming that less than 12% of the guns seized by Mexico in 2008 had been verified as coming from the U.S. They also charged that Mexican soldiers defect to work for drug cartels, taking their U.S.-made rifles with them.
Weapons used by Mexican cartels also come from Central America and China, they said.
On Thursday morning, President López Obrador defended the suit and accused gun manufacturers of providing organized crime with custom-made weapons.
He said the intention was not to challenge U.S. citizens’ right to carry arms but to encourage controls over their manufacture and sale.
Mexico News Daily