A U.S. judge has ruled that Mexico’s lawsuit against Arizona gun dealers can move forward, allowing legal proceedings to proceed.

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A U.S. judge on Monday cleared the path for Mexico to proceed with its lawsuit against five Arizona gun dealers accused of involvement in trafficking weapons and ammunition to drug cartels across the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez, presiding in Tucson, rejected arguments asserting that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) shielded the gun dealers from Mexico’s claims. The dealers – Diamondback Shooting Sports Inc, SnG Tactical LLC, Loan Prairie LLC, Ammo A-Z LLC, and Sprague’s Sports Inc – argued that the PLCAA provided broad protection against lawsuits over the misuse of their products.

However, Judge Marquez ruled that Mexico’s claims fell outside the scope of PLCAA protection, allowing the lawsuit to proceed. Mexico alleged that the dealers facilitated the trafficking of military-style assault weapons, such as the AR-15, and ammunition to cartels through reckless and unlawful practices, including sales to straw purchasers.

While allowing much of the lawsuit to move forward, Judge Marquez dismissed some of Mexico’s individual legal claims, including violations of U.S. racketeering law and creating a public nuisance.

Lawyers representing Mexico expressed their readiness to present their case in court, while Mexico’s foreign ministry reiterated its commitment to defending its interests and those of its citizens.

The ruling was hailed as a significant step in holding the gun industry accountable for its role in gun violence and curbing the flow of trafficked guns to cartels by advocates such as Jonathan Lowy from the U.S.-based advocacy group Global Action on Gun Violence.

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