Mexico Suing American Gun Makers for Cartel Violence, NSSF Responds

(Photo: NSSF)

NEWTOWN, Conn. — NSSF®, the firearm industry trade association, rejects Mexico’s allegations that U.S. firearm manufacturers participated in negligent business practices. All firearms sold at retail within the United States are sold in accordance with federal and state laws, with an FBI background check and forms completed. Allegations of wholesale cross-border gun trafficking are patently and demonstrably false.

“These allegations are baseless. The Mexican government is responsible for the rampant crime and corruption within their own borders,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Mexico’s criminal activity is a direct result of the illicit drug trade, human trafficking and organized crime cartels that plague Mexico’s citizens. It is these cartels that criminally misuse firearms illegally imported into Mexico or stolen from the Mexican military and law enforcement. Rather than seeking to scapegoat law-abiding American businesses, Mexican authorities must focus their efforts on bringing the cartels to justice. The Mexican government, which receives considerable aid from U.S. taxpayers, is solely responsible for enforcing its laws – including the country’s strict gun control laws – within their own borders.

“The American people through their elected officials decide the laws governing the lawful commerce in firearms in our country,” Keane added. “This lawsuit filed by an American gun control group representing Mexico is an affront to U.S. sovereignty and a threat to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms. A right denied to the Mexican people who are unable to defend themselves from the cartels.”

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Less than 12 percent of the guns Mexico seized in 2008, for example, have been verified as coming from the U.S. In 2008, approximately 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals in Mexico. Of these 30,000, only 7,200 (24 percent) were submitted to the ATF for tracing. This is because only these firearms were likely to have come from the U.S., a determination made by the presence of a U.S.-mandated serial number and the firearm’s make and model – requirements under federal law as part of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Of the 7,200 firearms submitted for tracing, only about 4,000 (13 percent) could be traced by the ATF of which roughly 3,480 (12 percent) came from the U.S. Although 3,480 is approximately 90 percent of the firearms successfully traced, it is hardly the mythical 90 percent of the total firearms recovered.

Even the more accurate 12 percent figure overestimates the true number of firearms from the United States. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Mexico Institute) points out that many of the serial numbers submitted for tracing were submitted to the ATF multiple times, some as many as five times each. The ATF has noted that more than 20 percent of the firearms submitted for tracing are duplicates. With such errors distorting the statistics it is clear that even fewer than 12 percent of these firearms originated in the U.S. And of the small number that did come from the U.S., many did not come from retail firearm sales.

Furthermore, of those firearms successfully traced, on average they were sold at retail 14 years earlier and following an FBI background check. This dispels the notion often repeated by the press that there is a flood of recently purchased firearms heading into Mexico from the United States.

The U.S. government also sells firearms directly to the Mexican government. Mexican soldiers continue to defect to work for the drug cartels, taking their American-made service rifles with them. In recent years the number of defections has soared to more than 150,000. According to U.S. State Department cables, the most lethal weapons used by Mexican cartels come from Central American arsenals. Additionally, according to a 2006 report by Amnesty International, China was actively supplying arms to Latin American countries, which have subsequently been seized in Mexico.

About NSSF

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

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  • Pancho Villa August 15, 2021, 3:13 am

    The allegations of Mexico are not in general against all weapons manufactured in the US. Is mostly directed to certain models of weapons that have being notoriously produced sporting ornamentation and easy modification capabilities to increase the lethality and intimidation these artifacts carry by nature.
    Also who needs a Gatling (Minigun) for home protection?

  • Bill August 11, 2021, 9:40 am

    Mexico suing American gun makers is a bunch of horse hooey by a greedy foreign government trying to collect easy money. Does the name “Fast & Furious” ring a bell? This was about the US government helping to put illegal arms into the hands of Mexican drug cartel members. Why was this giant scandal simply swept under the carpet with minor fanfare? Everyone directly involved in fast & furious had dirty hands but were allowed to skip freely away. It is obvious why every antigun organization is jumping on the bandwagon trying to put gun makers out of business under a pretext of bold lies all around. The American people are not fooled.

  • bobs your uncle August 7, 2021, 5:31 pm

    This reminds me of glocks turning up at crime scenes and attempts to sue glock, it was later determined these were police trade ins and since glock had legally sold them, they had no control over future use or sale. [ref. book, glock Americas gun]

  • Dale Kehrer August 6, 2021, 5:36 pm

    The Mexican gov’t has been corrupt since the dawn of time, even before they had sovereignty. The cartels and the gov’t are one in the same. Similar situation in New York and especially Chicago, the Mafia has just moved into politics, but they’re alive and well. And guess which president lived in, and got his political start in Chicago? Answer – The same one that shipped military grade weapons to corrupt Mexico then lost them. Hmmff, ain’t that a coincidence.

    • etph August 7, 2021, 8:55 pm

      H&K was on trial in Germany for selling arms to cartels in Mexico. Perhaps the Mexican government believes that U.S. gun manufacturers behave similar to corrupt ones like H&K.

  • Ernesto August 6, 2021, 1:40 pm

    How about suing Mexico for all the illegal drugs that come in to the US and the damage that comes from it

  • Namer August 6, 2021, 10:26 am

    How about suing Obama for sending all of those guns to mexico.

  • Kane August 6, 2021, 9:54 am

    Unseal the Obama admin documents on illegally selling firearms to narco-terrorists over the border.

  • TEX MITCHELL August 6, 2021, 9:43 am

    After 5000 years of existence they can’t even build a highway and they are blaming us for gun violence? The whole government is corrupt with drug and human trafficking’s money. Look at the US border where our President’s lack of brains is encouraging it.

  • Abby Normal August 6, 2021, 9:30 am

    Mexico is suing the wrong entity. They should be suing Eric Holder and 0bama.

  • No1Hunter August 6, 2021, 9:05 am

    Maybe they should secure their border to keep the Cartels from smuggling guns in. FYI – their favor gun is an AK. So, they should elsewhere for someone to sue!

  • Pete Faz August 6, 2021, 7:48 am

    Perhaps the Mexican government should spend less time lining their pockets with cartel money and more time hunting and eliminating cartel members

  • Tarheel August 6, 2021, 7:12 am

    Chappo and his crowd could simply go to the Middle East gun bazaars and purchase any kind of military weapon they need far more dangerous than anything they can purchase in the US and they will. Maybe we should counter sue for the billions upon billions their illegal citizens and others coming from Mexico is costing us.

  • CatRacer August 6, 2021, 7:07 am

    Don’t be fooled. This is China pulling the puppet strings and trying yet another avenue to disarm the American people.
    Don’t be fooled…

  • Orville Clift August 6, 2021, 6:36 am

    Not to worry. Retired lawyer here. A monkey can file a suit. Now, counterclaims can be brought charging Mexico’s complicity in several types of gun crimes, such as illegal drug traffic enforced by guns, assault, murders with guns, etc etc ,resulting in deaths and injuries in the U.S. Some rabid anti-liberals have stepped in it. Just let defense counsel protect the NSSF. Thank the Founding Fathers for the Second Amendment.

  • Blue idiot (it/thing) August 6, 2021, 6:06 am

    Yeah he has a .50 from the US, but was from the fast and furious program, so blame Eric and Obama, not US businesses. Plus your comment it plan stupid, help mexico? What the heck do you think we do? The US sends millions of dollars, man power, equipment, etc etc every year. It’s the corruption, greed, cartels that are the issue, not US firearms. So try again, no we dont have anymore responsiblity to help Mexico. Maybe if we build the wall and secure our borders better we wont have this type of stupid comment from you.

  • J Franks August 6, 2021, 4:29 am

    The Mexican government should be suing the US government. Our government’s drug policies are what has made the drug trade so lucrative. Prohibition does not work. Methaqualone (Quaaludes) is the only substance I’m aware of that has been banned and not reappeared on the black market in any real way. The War on Drugs has been going on sjnce the 60s. In all that time one drug has been “beaten”. One. Kind of fitting that this unwinnable “war” was started during another unwinnable war.

    We’re the cause of all the violence south of our border. We need to take responsibility for it and end our moronic “war”.

  • DeltaLimaEcho August 4, 2021, 8:02 pm

    That rifle was probably provided to the cartel through the Obama/Eric Holder Fast & Furious program, which has cost countless # of lives including @ least one of our hero Border Patrol Agents.

  • Derek L Ellsbury August 4, 2021, 7:52 pm

    That rifle was probably provided to him through the Obama/Holder Fast & Furious program.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) August 4, 2021, 4:49 pm

    Didn’t El Chapo have a .50 cal that came from up here?

    Even if it is only 12% or 10%, don’t we have a responsibility to help our neighbours?

    • Ron August 6, 2021, 6:26 am

      So we are not supposed to manufacture firearms at all? Basically what you are requesting. Literally only talking about a few thousand firearms out of the hundreds of millions here and you think it is a Federal issue and we should assist Mexico? Maybe if their own people were not trying to escape from the regime and coming here then the Mexico government could be handling the criminals like they should be. The USA is not the world’s Police.

    • Kc (sire/your majesty) August 6, 2021, 6:46 am

      Doesn’t Mexico have a responsibility to help THEIR “ neighbours”? We ought to sue them for exporting a sizable chunk of their population to us, granting Central Americans free passage, and drug cartels. As for El Chapo having a .50 cal, money talks. He could have had a squadron of MiG-29s if he wanted.

    • No1Hunter August 6, 2021, 9:11 am

      They also have RPG’s and the likes and educate you, they didn’t come from the USA! By the way, a lot of the guns the Cartel have come from the Mexican military and police after they deserted for more $$$$$. So Mexico, stop the drugs, and you stop the $$$ and stop the guns. Of course, that means much less $$$ in your pocket! If you weren’t so corrupt, you could fix it.

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