BOSTON, MA – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Global Exchange, March for Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance and the Violence Policy Center—represented by the law firm Marten Law—filed an amicus brief in support of the Mexican Government’s lawsuit that seeks to hold gun industry members accountable for gun violence that they have facilitated in Mexico. The Mexican Government alleges that the gun industry defendants have supplied the criminal gun market in Mexico through their irresponsible and illegal practices,stopu fueling an epidemic of gun violence in their country. In response, the gun industry defendants told the court that it should dismiss the lawsuit because under American law, they cannot be held accountable for the harm the Mexican people have suffered.
The brief explains the long and well-established American tradition of public nuisance law, which holds that those who harm public health and safety are accountable to those who suffer from it. Mexico’s claims fall squarely within this tradition.
“As this case shows, the impact of irresponsible gun industry practices can have devastating effects on communities – whether in the U.S. or abroad.” said Alla Lefkowitz, Senior Director of Affirmative Litigation at Everytown Law. “The gun industry has refused to accept that it has a critical role to play in preventing gun violence. No industry should be able to operate with impunity, and we’ll continue to fight on every front to hold reckless actors in the industry accountable for the harm they cause.”
“As Americans, we must have the courage to stand for the principle that all people have inalienable rights. As advocates fighting gun violence, we must recognize that the irresponsible practices that the gun industry has pursued to line its pockets have been paid for in blood both north and south of the Rio Grande,” said David Pucino, Giffords Law Center Deputy Chief Counsel. “We’re proud to support the Mexican people in their pursuit of justice and to join their demand that the flood of illegal guns and the bloodshed they cause must end.”
“The enormous and militarized U.S. gun market has accelerated violence in Mexico, which in turn has forced migrants to seek asylum in the United States,” said John Lindsay-Poland, coordinator of the Stop US Arms to Mexico project of Global Exchange. “Criminal organizations in Mexico make profits based on territory they control, for which they use U.S.-sourced, military-grade weapons. The assault and sniper rifles aggressively marketed by the gun company defendants provide a perfect supply for such violence. Global Exchange stands with those seeking to change the U.S. weapons industry’s practices.”
“For far too long, the American gun industry has facilitated untold death and terror in the United States and around the world,” said Tabitha Escalante, Judicial Advocacy Associate at March For Our Lives. “As a Mexican-American who has grown up fighting in the movement for gun safety, I’m proud to support this lawsuit. It’s past time that gun manufacturers face accountability for fueling such devastation south of our border. We stand with the Mexican people pushing back against this encroachment on their basic right to live free from gun violence.”
“The gun industry’s pursuit of Any-Guns-to-Anyone-Everywhere agenda has a devastating impact in our communities in the United States and beyond”, said Po Murray, chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance. “On December 14, 2012, our community was devastated by a heartbreaking school shooting tragedy that was fueled by the gun industry’s insatiable pursuit of profits. The fact is the gun industry benefits from gun deaths and injuries in America, Mexico and around the world. We stand firmly with the Mexican people to hold the gun industry accountable for the gun violence public health epidemic in our nations.”
“The U.S. gun industry supplies the military-style firearms–assault weapons, anti-armor sniper rifles, and high-capacity semiautomatic pistols–that criminal organizations utilize to terrorize and kill innocent people in Mexico. The lawsuit by the Mexican Government seeks only to hold the gun industry accountable for the foreseeable consequences of its actions. The Violence Policy Center is proud to support this effort,” states Kristen Rand, government affairs director at the Violence Policy Center.