Friday, April 22, 2011
In another chapter in the ongoing attempt to blame the American gun community for Mexico’s internal strife, CBS News reports that the Mexican government has retained the New York City-based law firm of Reid Collins & Tsai to examine its options for suing U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors. This report describes Mexico’s actions as a “novel approach,” in reality, such lawsuits have been used for decades as a tactic by anti-gun groups and governments in their attempts to bankrupt gun manufacturers and circumvent the political process.
That’s why Congress passed the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” in 2005. This act protects firearms manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers from suits brought about as a result of “the harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products or ammunition products by others when the product functioned as designed and intended.” The outlook for a Mexican government suit looks dim; since the PLCAA was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Oct. 26, 2005, no federal court has allowed such a suit by a government plaintiff to go forward against a U.S. firearms manufacturer.
The Mexican government’s plans for a lawsuit extend at least back to November 2, 2010, when a contract with the law firm was signed. Unfortunately for the Mexican government, the possible lawsuit has come to light at the same time as diplomatic cables newly made available by Wikileaks, which have shown that drug cartels obtain much of their weaponry from Central American arsenals.
One such cable, recently publicized by Mexico City newspaper La Jornada, addresses a frequently heard claim about the origin of guns used in Mexico’s crime wave. The cable’s author writes, “Claims by Mexican and U.S. officials that upwards of 90 percent of illegal recovered weapons can be traced back to the U.S. is based on an incomplete survey of confiscated weapons. In point of fact, without wider access to the weapons seized in Mexico, we really have no way of verifying these numbers.”
This information comes to light only weeks after another cable publicized by La Jornada revealed that 90 percent of the drug cartels’ “heavy armament,” such as grenades and rocket launchers, originates in Central America and enters Mexico through its Southern border with Guatemala. Bolstering these claims, IHS Global Insights reported on April 6 that the head of U.S. Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser, testified before the Senate that over 50 percent of the military grade weapons in the region originated from Central America.
Perhaps instead of retaining a boutique law firm from New York City to flout federal law in an attempt to attack law-abiding gun manufacturers, the Mexican government should spend the money on getting some help for the reported 125 Mexican immigration officers patrolling the 577 mile border with Guatemala.
Copyright 2011, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action.
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