US states, Caribbean nations back Mexico's appeal in arms lawsuit

March 21, 2023 11:10 PM EDT

FILE PHOTO: A soldier shows a gun delivered by a citizen as part of a voluntary disarmament program in Mexico City, Mexico April 3, 2019.REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Sixteen U.S. states and a handful of Caribbean governments on Tuesday expressed support for Mexico's appeal in a civil lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers.

The states, which all have Democratic attorneys general, as well as the District of Columbia, filed an amicus curiae brief in a U.S. court on Tuesday, while the countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago joined a separate amicus curiae brief.

Mexico said last week it had filed an appeal in a $10 billion lawsuit seeking to hold U.S. gun makers responsible for facilitating the trafficking of deadly weapons across the border.

A U.S. judge dismissed the lawsuit in September, citing a U.S. law that protects arms manufactures from being held liable for crimes committed with their products.

The brief from the U.S. states argues the judge's decision was "premised on a misreading" of that law.

The brief from the Caribbean governments, which was joined by a network of non-governmental organizations, follows a summit among regional leaders last month held in the Bahamas, where arms trafficking was a key topic.

U.S. officials in August noted a spike in weapons smuggling to Haiti and the Caribbean in previous months.

The states filing the brief were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Boyle, Kylie Madry and Jasper Ward; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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