A federal court in Tucson will decide whether Mexico's 2nd gun-related case can move forward

Published: Monday, February 26, 2024 - 3:35pm
Updated: Monday, February 26, 2024 - 4:50pm

A federal court in Tucson will decide whether a case brought by the Mexican government against five Arizona gun stores can move forward. 

The government's suit argues guns used by criminal groups across the border have been traced back to the Arizona stores. It says the stores broke Mexican and U.S. laws because they "actively participate in the trafficking of guns to Mexico," and "recklessly market and advertise guns that defendants know will be obtained by persons for criminal purposes."  

At a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Marquez on Friday, attorneys for the gun stores argued Mexico did not have standing to bring the suit and the case should be dismissed. They said their clients can't be held liable for crimes that occurred after the guns were sold, and said the trafficked guns traced to the stores were a drop in the bucket compared to the total number trafficked to Mexico annually.

Lawyers for Mexico argued the trafficked weapons caused harm to people and property in Mexico, and that the stores engaged in activity that should have been flagged as potential trafficking — like straw sales and the purchasing of multiple military-style weapons at once. 

Marquez has not yet made a ruling on the defense's motion to dismiss the case. 

The hearing comes one month to the day after an appeals court in Boston ruled another suit brought by Mexico against major U.S. gunmakers was allowed to move forward. The ruling reverses another from a lower court which moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that the gun makers were protected by a U.S. law that shields them from certain civil suits. 

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