The Mexican government sued multiple gun manufacturers in the United States on Wednesday, accusing the companies of having relaxed practices that contribute to the illegal transportation of guns across the border, according to court documents, the Washington Post reported.
Included in the suit are Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.; Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc; Beretta U.S.A. Corp; Glock, Inc; and Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Boston, near several of the firearm manufacturers’ headquarters. The Mexican government wants an estimated $10 billion in financial compensation from the targeted companies and does not take aim at the United States government.
The Mexican government “brings this action to put an end to the massive damage that the Defendants cause by actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit alleges that the gun makers “are conscious of the fact that their products are trafficked and used in illicit activities against the civilian population and authorities of Mexico,” a document from the Foreign Ministry revealed.
“Nonetheless, they continue to prioritize their economic benefit, and use marketing strategies to promote weapons that are ever more lethal, without mechanisms of security or traceability,” it added.
Mexican officials hope to force the companies to adopt greater control of sales and improved security features on the guns, in addition to financial compensation, which could be as high as $10 billion, officials said. Mexico also wants the manufacturers to conduct studies and public service campaigns to help stem the flow of arms trafficking.
The Associated Press reported that Alejandro Celorio, legal advisor for the ministry, said that the destruction created by trafficked guns equals almost 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, which was $1.2 trillion last year.
“We don’t do it to pressure the United States,” Celorio said. “We do it so there aren’t deaths in Mexico.”
A 2016 Government Accountability Office report found that nearly 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico originated in the United States. Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also revealed that guns were typically purchased on the Southwest US-Mexico border, and almost half of the firearms were long guns. “…most were purchased legally in gun shops and at gun shows in the United States, and then trafficked illegally to Mexico,” the report said.
Mexican officials said high-caliber rifles are the weapon of choice for most drug trafficking organizations.