Cross-Border Conundrum: Mexican Lawsuit Advances Against Arizona Gun Dealers

In a pivotal legal development, a U.S. judge has greenlit Mexico’s pursuit of justice against five Arizona-based gun dealers accused of perpetuating the illicit flow of weapons and ammunition to drug cartels straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.

District Judge Rosemary Marquez, presiding in Tucson, rebuffed assertions that a federal law shielding the firearms industry from litigation over misuse of their products thwarted Mexico’s claims. The dealers named – Diamondback Shooting Sports Inc, SnG Tactical LLC, Loan Prairie LLC, Ammo A-Z LLC, and Sprague’s Sports Inc – had sought refuge behind the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), yet Marquez deemed Mexico’s allegations, particularly those of violating U.S. firearm regulations, sufficiently credible to bypass PLCAA protection.

At the heart of Mexico’s grievance lies the accusation that these dealers facilitated the trafficking of military-grade assault weaponry, such as the notorious AR-15, alongside ammunition, through reckless and illegal transactions. The lawsuit points fingers at practices like sales to “straw purchasers,” individuals procuring firearms on behalf of others in violation of the law.

While Judge Marquez permitted the majority of the lawsuit to advance, she did dismiss certain specific claims by Mexico, including allegations of breaching U.S. racketeering laws and creating public nuisances.

In response, Mexico’s legal representatives expressed eagerness to present their case in court, emphasizing their commitment to safeguarding the nation’s interests and those of its citizens through all available avenues. Jonathan Lowy, a lawyer for Mexico affiliated with the U.S.-based advocacy group Global Action on Gun Violence, hailed the ruling as a significant stride towards holding the firearms industry accountable for its role in perpetuating gun violence and stemming the tide of trafficked firearms to criminal syndicates.

Meanwhile, defense attorneys opted for silence in the wake of the judgment.

This legal saga unfolds against the backdrop of a broader transnational debate on accountability for weapons trafficking. Mexico’s lawsuit against the Arizona dealers emerged shortly after a Boston federal judge dismissed a $10 billion lawsuit in 2021, which targeted multiple U.S. gun manufacturers for their alleged complicity in weapons trafficking across the border. However, a January ruling by a U.S. appeals court resurrected the lawsuit, paving the way for manufacturers like Smith & Wesson Brands and Sturm, Ruger & Co to seek recourse in the highest echelons of the judiciary.

As legal battles rage on, the intricate web of laws and international relations surrounding the gun trade continues to evolve, leaving significant ramifications for both sides of the border.


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