Trial court allows Mexico’s lawsuit against gun dealers to proceed

First lawsuit by a sovereign nation against U.S. gun dealers is not barred by U.S. gun industry protection law

March 25, 2024

(WASHINGTON) Today, a federal trial court in Arizona held that the Government of Mexico could proceed in its landmark anti-gun trafficking lawsuit against five gun dealers, denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss in most of the claims. The lawsuit was the first brought by a sovereign nation against gun dealers. The opinion comes on the heels of the January 22 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit holding that Mexico’s groundbreaking lawsuit against several gun manufacturers can proceed.

The Court ruled that Mexico v. Diamondback Shooting Sports, et al. is not prohibited by the federal gun industry shield law (PLCAA). Mexico’s lawsuit seeks to hold the dealers accountable for allegedly facilitating gun trafficking across the border into Mexico and contributing to gun violence in that country. Global Action on Gun Violence’s president Jonathan Lowy is co-counsel for Mexico, along with Texas-based litigator Steve Shadowen. 

“Today’s ruling is a huge step forward in holding the gun industry accountable for its contribution to gun violence, and in stopping the flood of trafficked guns to the cartels,” said Lowy. “We look forward to now proving our case in court.” 

Mexico filed this suit on October 10, 2022, and arguments were heard on February 22, 2024. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Márquez held that Mexico’s negligence, negligent entrustment, gross negligence, unjust enrichment, punitive damages claims could proceed, while dismissing the public nuisance, RICO and consumer fraud claims. The opinion is here.

Global Action on Gun Violence (GAGV) is the only nonprofit organization working to end global gun violence through litigation, international action, and advocacy, and draws on over 25 years experience litigating against the gun industry. Find out more about GAGV’s work with Mexico.