Back in the olden days, meaning the 20th Century, the gun-control movement consisted of a couple of D.C.-based lobbying groups, chief among them the Brady Group which got the background-check gun bill and a ten-year assault rifle bill signed by Clinton in 1994.

The NRA, on the other hand, had connections to gun owners all over the country by dint of sponsoring shooting matches at various public ranges, as well as having display booths at hundreds of gun shows which were held in just about all 50 states.

The NRA’s public presence and lobbying efforts were so much a part of the sporting and shooting landscape, that Bill Clinton’s declaration about how Al Gore lost the 2000 election because the NRA beat him in his home state of Tennessee went unchallenged for the next twenty years.

The NRA’s dominance of the gun debate, however, was shattered by the massacre at Sandy Hook, as well as the appearance and growth of well-financed gun-control efforts, chief among them Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown and its alliance with Shannon Watts and her MOMS group.

Almost overnight it seemed, gun-control organizations and groups started to bloom, with Gabby Giffords promoting gun control after recovering from a near-fatal shooting in 2011, and the Brady Group building membership within individual states.

You would think that with all the increased attention on gun violence generated by these new organizational initiatives, along with a weakening of NRA activities over the past couple of years, that strategies and measures would be adopted that would show some degree of a lessening of gun violence rates.

To the contrary, the per-100K rate for intentional, fatal gun injuries in 2012 was 10.45; in 2020 it was 13.58. So, in the eight years since gun-control organizational activity and advocacy began to surge after 2012, the fatal gun violence rate has increased by 30 percent! We don’t have any official gun violence numbers for the last several years, but nobody is expecting anything but further increases given the impact of Covid-19.

And what does Gun-control Nation come up with in response to a public health threat which has become endemic to a degree not experienced in any other advanced country? It’s another gun-control organization, in this case devoted to preventing or at least reducing gun violence in other countries by bringing legal actions against American gun makers whose business practices are designed to supply “the criminal gun market in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and countries in Latin America and elsewhere.”

So says the website of Global Action on Gun Violence, the brainchild of Jonathan Lowy, who was Counsel for Brady for 25 years, during which time he claims to have litigated and won more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements for gun violence victims, along with all kinds of other legal victories creating ‘groundbreaking precedent’ to hold gun makers responsible for causing gun violence.

Back in 2021, Lowy evidently helped the Mexican government to develop and file a lawsuit against 6 major gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, and Glock, which was initially dismissed because of PLCCA, but apparently is now going to be reviewed by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. The suit alleges that these gun makers knowingly sold guns to dealers and distributors for the purpose of moving guns into the hands of Mexican criminals and therefore violating various Mexican laws covering illegal ownership and use of guns.

Before I get into the details of this lawsuit, it should be mentioned that the export market for American gun makers and dealers represents somewhere between 3% and 6% of the guns manufactured in the U.S. every year.  In 2019, the most recent year for this data (from the ATF), the gun industry manufactured 7,011,945 guns and exported 317,482 guns. In other words, gun exports represented 4.5% of all domestic gun production that year. Big deal.

Getting back to the lawsuit (which you can download here) the complaint is nothing more than the same, old ‘rotten apple’ gun dealer narrative which has been floating around since the government started regulating gun dealers in the 1930’s and then made ATF responsible for inspecting and managing dealer behavior with the gun law passed in 1968.

We’ve been hearing this blah-blah-blah for years about how most gun dealers are ‘honest’ but there some rotten apples out there who are either not inspected by the ATF or are allowed to continue selling guns after an inspection finds that relevant laws aren’t being followed.

Back in 1999, the Clinton Administration made a deal with Smith & Wesson that would have required the company to police its dealers by physically visiting every gun dealer in the United States who sold just one S&W gun a year. I’ll spare you the details of this scheme, but the bottom line is that it would have put Smith & Wesson out of business.

Lowy’s lawsuit mentions this agreement, and states that it collapsed because S&W ‘reneged’ on the deal. Actually, it was the government which, after a Democrat named Clinton was replaced by a Republican named Bush, told S&W that the deal was dead. And by the way, had the agreement remained in effect, it would have immunized S&W from all tort suits, so bye-bye Lowy’s scheme to use tort litigation to regulate the gun business.

This new organizational effort to deal with gun violence does absolutely nothing except promote the careers and public presence of a couple of D.C.-based lawyers who are trying to carve out a new, little niche for themselves in the gun-control debate.

When it comes to reducing gun violence, this is the best we can do?