Mexico Wants to Sue US Gun Makers

CBS News, April 21, 2011

CBS News has learned that the Mexican Government has retained an American law firm to explore filing civil charges against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors over the flood of guns crossing the border into Mexico.

Sources say Mexico’s frustration with U.S. efforts to stop the flow of weapons has pushed them into this novel approach. The law firm is looking at charges that may include civil RICO. The contract was signed on November 2, 2010 by a representative of Mexico’s Attorney General, at their Washington embassy.

On November 5, 2010 President Felipe Calderon expressed his frustration to CBS News correspondent Peter Greenberg: “We seized more than 90,000 weapons . . . I am talking like 50,000 assault weapons, AR-15 machine guns, more than 8,000 grenades and almost 10 million bullets. Amazing figures and according to all those cases, the ones we are able to track, most of these are American weapons.”

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According to the Mexican government database, there were 15,273 drug-related killings in 2010.Overall, a total of 34,612 people have died in drug-related killings in the four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared a stepped-up offensive against drug cartels.

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  • Question Diversity

    We know this won’t go anywhere. Aside from the obvious reason that the premise isn’t true, the Obama White House will do everything to stop it, because Obama’s ATF is in the process of dragging its heels on Darrel Issa’s investigation of Operation Gun Walker that Issa is this close to handing out contempt citations. If this lawsuit happens, there will be a lot of things that come out “in the wash” that a lot of people want to keep covered up.

    But think about the ramifications if Mexico is able to file this suit and win — Could the Federal courts issue a consent decree ordering the Feds to build a border wall and fortify it with the 101st Airborne, to keep Mexico safe from America’s guns? Talk about don’t throw me into the briar patch.

  • ranger

    “We seized more than 90,000 weapons … I am talking like 50,000 assault weapons, AR-15 machine guns, more than 8,000 grenades and almost 10 million bullets. Amazing figures and according to all those cases, the ones we are able to track, most of these are American weapons.”

    Liar!

    The AR-15 is not in demand by the cartels, because it is only semi-automatic, not automatic. Does anyone but the gun illiterates think the cartels with unlimited funds are going to buy second rate AR-15’s over fully automatic M-16’s and AK-47’s?

    And how many people think the gun stores here are selling hand grenades?

    The majority of cartel weapons come from the black market, the Mexican military and police and the leftovers from the many wars in Central and South America.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Let’s make a deal: we’ll keep our guns out of their country if they promise to keep their illegals out of ours.

  • john

    This is a remarkable new legal principle. Someone who manufactures a legal product in the US, distributes it in compliance with US federal and state laws, through retailers fully licensed federally and by those states, can now be sued for possibly illegal use of that product?

    I suppose the manufacturers of motor vehicles used in the smuggling of drugs into and out of Mexico should now also be liable because their cars and trucks were used in the process.

    Hey, and what about aircraft? Beechcraft, Cessna, Piper, Grumman, etc should be next in line to be found liable.

    The possibilities are endless.

  • SKIP

    ” “We seized more than 90,000 weapons … I am talking like 50,000 assault weapons, AR-15 machine guns, more than 8,000 grenades and almost 10 million bullets”

    If those numbers are added up, the figure would still be abut 45 million short of the number of ILLEGAL ALIENS from South of the Border. And if the weapons are indeed from America, I suspect they came from America to the Mexican criminals VIA the Mexican Army! Also, to my knowledge at least, AK-47s are not made in the U.S. and I have seen plenty of those South of the Burder in my past down there.

  • Silly Me

    A total of 34,612 people have died in drug-related killings in the four years …

    In the USA millions have been affected by the Drug Cartels.

    Can we “sue” them?

    Just Silly me!

  • Mel

    A few years ago I was in San Diego on a business trip.

    The day I arrived a New Corvette was stolen off a parking lot.

    The San Diego Police located the car, within a week.

    It was being driven by the Chief Of Police in T.J. he said he could not return it because it was now evidence in a crime.

    Herein lies your answer, they don’t take advantage of us, our own people sell us down the road to destruction to line their own pockets, don’t you get that yet?

  • Jay

    “the ones we are able to track, most of these are American weapons.”

    This is the key sentence, the ones they could ‘track’. I read a report that said the majority of the weapons coming into mexico are from non-U.S. suppliers. The only reason some weapons can be tracked is because of strict U.S. gun laws. The weapons the cartels get from Russia, Asia, South America and Africa, well you can’t track those, and they are the majority of the weapons.

  • q

    Note to Mexico:

    The advice of many experts outside your country is to avoid long term plans, because you won’t be in power long enough to collect on a settlement even if the dopes in the US liberal courts decide to give you one.

    Your best bet is to fill your back packs with pork and beans, along with a bedroll, and head out to the desert to hide until the cartels have finished their “adjustment” period, then ask them if you can come back.

    You might even be able to get a job as a “mule” lugging bales of dope into the US.

  • Dave

    The cases isn’t about guns it’s about American sovereignty. People can laugh and call us “conspiracy nuts” all they want, but here it is.

    This is how the New World Order will be built and borders rendered meaningless. This is not one government taking action against another it’s one government taking action against a private company in another. The job of our government is to protect us from foreign governments, at least I thought it was anyway.

  • alexander

    The VAST majority of rifles used by the cartels are fully automatic. The US DOES NOT manufacture fully automatic Ak-47’s or M-16’s that are available to the public.

    There might be a few semi-automatics picked up by the average Mexican crook that come from the US, but that’s about it.

    There certainly isn’t “thousands” that are sold and shipped to Mexico. That’s preposterous.

  • Up to my neck in CA.

    Then I say counter-sue Mexico for all the crime and expenses their illegal hoards have cost the citizens of this great nation. Make them provide social services for their own citizens!

  • Anonymous

    The nice thing about trackable guns is that you can find the most common points of sale and the most common identities used.

    There are a lot of fully auto converted (easy because the separateable upper/lower receiver groups on the M16) in militia hands and it would not surprise me at all to see that they are selling these things like hotcakes to help fund their own ‘post USA’ movements. The same goes for the criminal gangs who, at one point, were sponsoring young blacks and hispanics into the army with the specific intent of gaining military training and contacts for weapons.

    That said, if you build a fence, _they won’t come_. And illicit trade of all contraband across the border will STOP.

    And any assault weapon that is purchased by anyone that ends up in Mexico should result in a federal gun crime charge against the seller. Autoguns, even ‘sporting’ lookalikes with limited magazines and semi-only restricted firing modes, should be ‘end user certificated’.

    So that the owner cannot, under any circumstance, pass on the weapon. He or his heirs can sell it back to the government for full market value but there should be absolutely no reason or ability for these things to end up in anyone’s hands outside the U.S..

    Period.

  • Anonymous

    ar-15’s stink of a US military fed gun supply. remember the Iran Contra Affair- thank you president reagan- we supplied ALL weapons for both sides of the was with Libya in the past as well. AR15’s are expensive, compared to the AK47, about 5 times more expensive. something stinks in mexico.

  • Michael C. Scott

    It’ll never work. Courts have already ruled that manufacturers are not legally or financially responsible for the deliberate criminal misuse of their products.

  • Michael C. Scott

    It’ll never work. Courts have already ruled that manufacturers are not legally or financially responsible for the deliberate criminal misuse of their products.

    As an aside, the AR-15 available to the US public is NOT easily convertible, hype like Anonymous (13) notwithstanding. The recess in the lower receiver in which the auto sear sits in the military M-16 is solid metal in an AR-15. It requires a machinist to do the work on the lower receiver, and possession of an unregistered M-16 auto-sear is a federal felony – even if you do not own an AR-15 – and thus a fast way to get ten years in prison. Other weapons like the FN-FAL get semi-auto-only ejector blocks in the upper receiver. I used an Austrian StG-58 parts set and a Brazilian “Imbel” upper receiver when I made my FN-FAL many years ago. When the FBI arrested me (for other things) in 2000, they were curious about the third selector setting, and sent the rifle to their lab at Quantico. The lab spat back the result that not only was it not a machinegun, it couldn’t even be made into one. I had additionally thrown away the full auto bits that came with the parts set. Presumably they could have been made to fit with some milling and machining, but an amateur who doesn’t know what he’s doing is simply going to wreck a good gun.

    The AK-47s so popular with the narcos are not made in the USA, and have never been made here; they’re imported from China and Eastern Europe (I’d love to hear the Chinese response to any Mexican attempt to sue Norinco!) The Fabrique Nationale Five-seveN pistol so popular with them is made in Belgium. The Heckler and Koch assault rifles popular with narcos are a German design (the origin was the StG-45, which came back to Germany postwar via Spain) are license-produced in Mexico and sold by the notoriously corrupt army and police. Ditto the H&K submachineguns. The Mexican government doesn’t have a leg to stand on here.

    The really hilarious aspect to this subject is that it is possible to make a working 9mm STEN submachinegun using a cheap parts set and a bit of even cheaper muffler tubing. When the Sons of Silence motorcycle club was arrested in Colorado in late 1999, they had dozens of STENS they had made in someone’s garage (and yes, they got some serious time).

  • Michael C. Scott

    I’ve also said it before on this site; anyone involved in the drug trade in Central America need go no father than El Salvador. For an M-16 or full-auto Galil, go to Colombia or Guatemala. For a full-auto AK-47, AKM or AK-74, there’s Nicaragua.

    I can’t wait until RPGs start appearing in the hands of the narcos; it’ll be fascinating to hear the Mexican government try to blame American sporting goods stores for selling anti-tank rockets.