A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit seeking to hold U.S. gun manufacturers responsible for facilitating the trafficking of a deadly flood of weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border to drug cartels.
The decision by Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor in federal court in Boston is a victory for Smith & Wesson Brands Inc, Sturm, Ruger & Co and others accused of undermining Mexico’s strict gun laws by designing, marketing and selling military-style assault weapons that cartels could use.
Mexico said it would appeal the decision.
“This suit by the Mexican government has received worldwide recognition and has been considered a turning point in the discussion around the gun industry’s responsibility for the violence experience in Mexico and the region,” Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Saylor said federal law “unequivocally” bars lawsuits seeking to hold gun manufacturers responsible when people use guns for their intended purpose. He said the law contained several narrow exceptions, but none applied.
“While the court has considerable sympathy for the people of Mexico, and none whatsoever for those who traffic guns to Mexican criminal organizations, it is duty-bound to follow the law,” Saylor wrote in a 44-page decision.
Other defendants included Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc, Beretta USA Corp, Colt’s Manufacturing Co and Glock Inc.
Representatives for the companies either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. Lawrence Keane, the general counsel of firearm industry trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation, welcomed the dismissal of the “baseless lawsuit.”