Mexican official says new lawsuit against US gunmakers is on the way

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

There’s no reason to believe the outcome will be any different than the first lawsuit that the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador brought against U.S. gun makers; a dismissal of the case long before it ever reached trial. Still, with AMLO’s cartel strategy of “hugs, not bullets” resulting in even more cartel violence, it’s no surprise that he and other officials are trying to distract from their own failures by pinning the blame on the US firearms industry.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told the Mexican Senate on Wednesday that the government’s next lawsuit will be filed in the border state of Arizona, though he didn’t say whether any gun control groups will be a part of this new effort as they were the first time around.

During his speech on Wednesday, Ebrard referred to a bipartisan package of gun safety measures passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in June. The law blocks gun sales to those convicted of abusing unmarried intimate partners and cracks down on gun sales to purchasers convicted of domestic violence.

“Illicit arms trafficking is already a crime in the United States,” Ebrard said.

“You have to start establishing criminal responsibilities because the companies that are selling these weapons in these counties (in Arizona), which are very few, of course they know where those weapons are going,” he added, but did not specify which companies he was referring to.

Ebrard makes it sound as if there are no laws whatsoever governing gun sales from licensed firearms retailers, even though border state gun dealers not only have to follow the long list of federal regulations surrounding firearm transfers, but even have special requirements placed on them like reporting multiple sales of modern sporting rifles to the ATF.

Frankly, if he really wants to talk about establishing criminal responsibilities, I’d say he should start much closer to home and crack down on the graft, corruption, and theft within the Mexican armed forces.

Mexico has just one firearm retailer in the entire country. That’s in the heart of Mexico City and is encamped in the middle of a military base. Still, guns are being recovered and it turns out that Mexico’s military is a source. Mexico’s Army is losing approximately 30percent of their firearms purchased from U.S. manufacturers. Those firearms are being recovered in crime scenes across the country. Firearms manufactured in the United States and sold lawfully through military contracts aren’t the only ones. Other firearms from manufacturers based in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain are also being recovered at crime scenes.

The fact that these firearms are being “lost” by the Mexican Army is worth noting, since it is only the Mexican Army that can purchase these firearms.

The report of these firearms going missing came from Mexican journalist Carlos Loret De Mola and was reported by Breitbart. That report also indicated that it is only the Mexican Army that can sell firearms and that an office called CENAPI, that resides within that of the Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Gomez, tracks firearms recovered at crime scenes but Loret De Mola claims that information is being suppressed because of Mexico’s pending lawsuit against U.S. manufacturers. CENAPI reportedly denied Loret De Mola’s request for information about recovered firearms in what is being termed as a way to cover up the Mexican Army’s role in gun trafficking.

Ebrard, of course, never mentioned the theft of military arms in his speech to the Mexican Senate. Why would he? This is about blaming American gun makers for the failures of Mexico’s government and for the actions of violent cartel members, not accepting responsibility for the abysmal failures of AMLO’s “hugs, not bullets” strategy.

Attackers gunned down a mayor, his father and 16 other people in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero on Wednesday, authorities said.

State Attorney General Sandra Luz Valdovinos told Milenio television late Wednesday that 18 people were killed and two were wounded in the town of San Miguel Totolapan. Among the dead were Mayor Conrado Mendoza and his father, a former mayor of the town, she said. Two additional people were wounded.

Images from the scene showed a bullet-riddled city hall.

Later Wednesday, in the neighboring state of Morelos, a state lawmaker was shot to death in the city of Cuernavaca south of Mexico City.

While attacks on public officials are not uncommon in Mexico, these come at a time when the security strategy of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is being sharply debated. The president has placed tremendous responsibility on the armed forces rather than civilian police for reining in Mexico’s persistently high levels of violence.

That would be the same armed forces that are “losing” almost a third of its weapons, by the way, though one of the reasons why Obrador shifted the primary responsibility to the military is because Mexico’s police forces are also rife with corruption and have their own problems with guns disappearing.

Honestly, maybe it’s time for the firearms industry to deploy the Barrett Option. After the state of California banned the civilian possession of .50 caliber rifles, Barrett Manufacturing’s Ronnie Barrett decided that his company would no longer sell or service any of their .50 BMGs to any California law enforcement agency. If the government in Mexico wants to blame U.S. gunmakers for cartel violence while failing to control the weapons under government control, then perhaps these companies should inform the Obrador administration that they will no longer be selling any arms or ammunition to the Mexican military or law enforcement; at least not until it can demonstrate that the guns delivered to Mexico’s military will not end up in the hands of the drug cartels.