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Allowing Mexico’s Suit Against American Gun Makers to Go Forward Would Mean Limitless Liability for US Companies

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Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Mass (Dan Z. for TTAG

Mexico’s lawsuit proposes to circumvent the application of the PLCAA by arguing this law does not apply because the shooting crimes committed by members of Mexican drug cartels took place in Mexico. This argument, however, conflicts with Congress’s express objective in the PLCAA to preclude liability against U.S. firearm companies for others’ criminal or unlawful misuse of firearms “shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”

As Congress appreciated, massive liability exposure could halt the lawful sale of firearms and enable backdoor industry “regulation through litigation.”

Allowing foreign countries such as Mexico to override the will of Congress and target the U.S. firearms industry would also create a host of new, troubling precedents. It would mean anyone who is shot by a U.S.-made firearm anywhere in the world (except the U.S.) could potentially sue the firearm’s manufacturer, even where the shooting was committed by a foreign criminal in a foreign country.

If U.S. courts determined the PLCAA does not bar such actions, foreign countries would also be emboldened to apply their own notions of liability law in a case. That means traditional defenses to liability could go out the window and allow claims based on crimes committed with firearms that changed hands many times over the span of years or even decades.

As a result, virtually limitless liability could be imposed against U.S. companies in a fundamentally unjust and arbitrary manner.

— Victor E. Schwartz in Courts should reject Mexico’s suit vs. U.S. firearm makers


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