Across the Rio Grande

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A US federal court rejected the Mexican government’s $10 billion lawsuit against US-based gun manufacturers, which accused the companies of facilitating the trafficking of weapons across the US-Mexico border to drug cartels, Reuters reported.

Last year, the Mexican government sued a number of gunmakers, including Smith & Wesson Brands Inc, saying the companies undermined Mexico’s strict gun laws by designing, marketing and selling military-style assault weapons that cartels could use.

Mexican officials admitted that only about two percent of the nearly 40 million guns made annually in the US are smuggled into Mexico, including up to 597,000 guns made by the defendants.

They said arms trafficking was a major reason the country came in third in the world for gun-related deaths.

The court acknowledged Mexico’s grievances, but dismissed the lawsuit saying that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act shielded weapons manufacturers from lawsuits over “the harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products … by others when the product functioned as designed and intended.”

Many pro-gun organizations welcomed the verdict. Meanwhile, Mexico said it would appeal the case.

“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 experienced in Mexico and the region,” Mexico’s foreign ministry said.

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