by Bronson Winslow
The Bahamas joined Mexico Wednesday to appeal a federal judge’s November decision to dismiss a $10 billion lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers for deaths caused by firearms, according to EyeWitness News.
Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis announced the decision, saying the firearms used to commit violent acts in his country are manufactured by American firearm companies and illegally trafficked across borders, according to EyeWitness News. The appeal follows a November ruling in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts where a federal judge dismissed Mexico’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. and Sturm, Ruger & Co.
“A critical element of the government’s effort to reduce violent crime in our country is cracking down on the proliferation of firearms, with particular focus on strengthening borders and entry points and on interrupting networks of illegal smugglers,” Davis said in a statement.
Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago and the Network for Human Security filed an amicus curiae in the appeal, according to EyeWitness News.
“Unlawful trafficking of American firearms must be curtailed at its source: the US gun industry. The gun manufacturers and distributors from a single nation must not be permitted to hold hostage the law-abiding citizens of an entire region of the world,” the brief read.
In September, a federal judge dismissed the first $10 billion lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers, ruling that the companies were under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) passed in 2005. In October, The Mexican government filed another lawsuit against five gun manufacturers, claiming 500,000 guns are moved across the border each year.
Davis argued that the U.S. gun industry, including its bulk sales of guns to dealers, is connected to significant harm in Latin American and Caribbean regions, according to EyeWitness News.
“The brief points to the increase in gun violence in The Bahamas, including collateral damage to unintended victims, including Bahamian children caught in the crossfire in recent years. Another example of harm cited in the brief includes the use of firearms by Haitian gangs in violent crimes and kidnapping, which has led many Haitian migrants to flee their country,” Davis continued.
After Mexico filed the lawsuit, 13 states and Washington D.C. announced support for the lawsuit, later denouncing the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, according to CNN. The states included California, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York.
“While the law may grant firearms manufacturers some protection, it is not a free pass to knowingly allow their products to land in dangerous hands,” Democratic California Attorney General Rob Bonta said at the time.
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Bronson Winslow is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis” by Palácio do Planalto. CC BY 2.0.