MEXICO CITY, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Mexico sued several gun makers in a U.S. federal court on Wednesday, accusing them of negligent business practices that generated illegal arms trafficking which led to deaths in Mexico.
The lawsuit alleges that units of Smith & Wesson; Barrett Firearms; Colt’s Manufacturing Company; Glock Inc; Sturm, Ruger & Co Inc and others knew their business practices generated illegal arms trafficking in Mexico.
The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mexico has recorded record-high homicide rates in recent years, driven in part by weapons from the United States in violation of Mexico’s stricter gun ownership laws.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Mexico said the venue was appropriate because the defendants did business in the area.
Mexico is seeking compensation for damages, which are estimated at as much as $10 billion, Mexican officials said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Speaking at a public ceremony, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said his government wanted arms manufacturers to put an immediate end to practices that caused deaths in his country.
He said he viewed the U.S. government, which is not named in the civil lawsuit, as being willing to work with Mexico to stem arms trafficking.
Ebrard, widely seen as a contender in 2024 elections, has made a point in recent years of publicizing the issue of U.S. gun trafficking and lax gun controls.
On Tuesday, Ebrard traveled to El Paso, Texas, for a ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the killing of 22 people at a Walmart, where the shooter was accused of deliberately targeting Mexicans. (Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Frank Jack Daniel in Hitchin, England; Writing by Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey; Editing by Howard Goller)