More Than Half Of State AGs Ask SCOTUS To Review Mexico Ruling

by Vern Evans
Austin Knudsen
Montana AG Austin Knudsen. Courtesy NSSF

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We reported last week how both the National Rifle Association and the Firearms Policy Coalition have filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a review of lower court decisions regarding Mexico’s attempts to impose its gun-control preferences on Americans.

Now, the top law enforcement officers from more than half of the states in the nation are petitioning the high court to take up the matter.

Led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the coalition of 27 state AGs is petitioning SCOTUS to correct a lower court’s ruling in Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. v. Mexico to keep other nations from using the American court system to limit the rights of American citizens.

“American firearms manufacturers should not and do not have to answer for the actions of criminals, as established by the commonsense federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” AG Knudsen said in a release announcing the action. “Mexico’s bad policies created the country’s gun violence problem. Rather than take responsibility, Mexico and anti-gun activists are trying to blame and bankrupt American companies that follow the law. The appeals court erred in their decision, and the Supreme Court needs to correct it.”

The brief filed by the AGs stated: “Congress recognized the public’s right to keep and bear arms was all-but-meaningless if firearms manufacturers were put out of business, and further recognized the importance of the firearms industry to the military and law enforcement. So, Congress enacted the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005… You might think that would be the end of it. But the activists are at it again, trying to cram the same creative legal theories with even more tenuous chains of causation into PLCAA’s narrow exceptions, admittedly attempting to achieve through litigation what Congress rejected.”

The brief continued with the AGs pointing out the error in reasoning of both the Mexican government and the lower court’s ruling.

“Here, the activists even had Mexico sue American gun manufacturers for crime problems resulting from Mexico’s policy choices,” the brief stated. “The First Circuit erred by reversing the usual rule of statutory construction by broadly construing an exception to a general provision. The upshot? The First Circuit effectively neutered the general provision. Under the First Circuit’s approach, the very cases PLCAA was intended to address now fall within one of its exceptions.”

In the end, the AGs are asking SCOTUS not only to take up the case, but in doing so to reverse the lower court’s errant ruling.

“This Court should review this case to correct the First Circuit’s wayward approach and to prevent it from proliferating as other circuits follow,” the brief further stated. “A foreign sovereign’s use of American courts to effectively limit the rights of American citizens is yet another reason to review this case.”

Other states whose AGs signed the brief included Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Arizona.

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