Consul General’s talk on Mexico’s federal lawsuit against arms makers opens 2022-2023 events calendar at Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center

Our schedule of 2022-2023 events here at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center opened yesterday with a compelling presentation by the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta.

In a talk entitled “Institutional Structure of the U.S.-Mexico Relations and Key Bilateral Issues: Mexico’s Legal Case Against U.S. Gun Manufacturers,” Ambassador Javier Díaz de León began by outlining ways that Mexico and the United States – often along with their neighbor to the north, Canada – discuss and seek solutions to common problems.

One concern, of course, is security; in Mexico’s case, the southward flow of firearms and money that enable drug cartels to operate. After providing statistics on the high proportion of weapons confiscated in Mexico that have been manufactured or distributed in the United States, Ambassador Díaz turned to what he rightly called the “landmark” step that his government took on August 4, 2021, when it filed Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. Smith & Wesson Brands et al. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. That civil tort suit alleges that Smith & Wesson and 10 other firearms manufacturers or distributors unlawfully permitted U.S. weapons to enter Mexico, where firearms are, for the most part, prohibited. According to Ambassador Díaz, a federal judge heard argument on defendants’ motion to dismiss last spring, but has not yet ruled on that motion, and discovery is under way.

Following his presentation, Georgia Law Regents’ Professor Diane Marie Amann, one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, moderated questions from the audience, composed mostly of students.

This marked the ambassador’s second visit to our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center; in 2018, also as part of our Consular Series, he spoke on “Mexico’s Relation with Georgia: Connecting Paths.”

Cosponsoring yesterday’s event with our Center were the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Institute at the University of Georgia, as well as two Georgia Law student groups, the Hispanic Law Students Association and the International Law Society.

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