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Mexico’s suits against U.S. gun industry aim to stop flood of firearms, government official says at UH Law Center presentation

Alejandro Celorio Alcántara (LL.M. ’09) , Julian Cardenas Garcia (LL.M. ’11) and Jessica Bregant present at a CLE on “Mexico Sues the U.S. Gun Industry” hosted by the UH Law Center.

Alejandro Celorio Alcántara (LL.M. ’09) , Julian Cardenas Garcia (LL.M. ’11) and Jessica Bregant present at a CLE on “Mexico Sues the U.S. Gun Industry” hosted by the UH Law Center. 

Nov. 29, 2022 – Legal Advisor for Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alejandro Celorio Alcántara (LL.M. ’09) discussed the weaponry relationship between Mexico and the United States and the civil lawsuits against the gun industry during a presentation hosted by the University of Houston Law Center.

“The government of Mexico is not against this country. We have no say in what happens in the United States, but we do have a say in whether it is killing us in Mexico,” Alcántara said. “If there is going to be a gun trade with the United States, we want it to be responsible, transparent and with accountability.”

In Mexico vs. Smith & Wesson, the Mexican government filed suit against U.S. weapons manufacturers, alleging that negligent business practices led to illegal arms trafficking and deaths in Mexico. Named defendants include merchants Beretta, Colt and Smith & Wesson.

The Mexican government filed a second suit, Mexico vs. Diamondback, against U.S. gun dealers, alleging negligence of sellers that supply weapons to criminal organizations.

Panelists discussed differences between Mexico, a nation of 130 million people, and the United States, a nation of 333 million people, reviewing methods of regulating and selling weapons in “Mexico Sues the U.S. Gun Industry” before a live and virtual audience.

“The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to gun ownership and gun regulation,” Professor Timothy Webster, Western New England School of Law said. “We have less than 5% of the world’s population but 46% of civilian-owned guns. Among developed states, that is the highest gun homicide rate in the world per capita, four times higher than Israel and eight times higher than Canada.”

Alcántara noted that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives analysis stated that more than 70% of the guns recovered in crime scenes in Mexico come illicitly from the U.S., 64% as handguns.

The lawsuits posed by Mexico present civil cases of negligence by the U.S. in the weapons industry. The suits charge that weapons trafficking has increased and that manufacturers and sellers are indifferent and willfully blind to guns trafficked across borders.

“We were excited to host our LL.M. alumnus for this very important and insightful presentation,” says Karen Jones, Executive Director of Global and Graduate Programs at the University of Houston Law Center. “It is always impressive to see the important work many of our graduates are doing in the world; especially as it involves US and Mexico relations.”

The event was moderated by Julian Cardenas Garcia (LL.M. ’11), UHLC Director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law. Assistant UH Law Professor Jessica Bregant and Professor Webster served as commentators.

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