Last week, a federal judge in Arizona ruled that the Mexican government can move forward in its potentially history-making lawsuit against five Arizona gun dealers, four of which are located in the borderlands.

It’s the second lawsuit filed by the Mexican government to curb the illegal trafficking of U.S. weapons, which contribute to tens of thousands of deaths every year as organized crime claims more territory in Mexico. The first lawsuit, against gun manufacturers, was filed in Massachusetts in August 2021 and dismissed by a U.S. district court, citing a legal technicality. In February, however, it was revived by a U.S. federal appeals court.

Now both lawsuits can move forward, and other countries, no doubt, are watching to see what happens next in Mexico’s historic bid to stop the illegal flow of guns from the United States. U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lowy, who is representing Mexico in this trailblazing case, says a win for Mexico could be an even bigger win for the United States, which has been unable to curb its own gun violence and is “the only country in the world,” he says, “where there are more guns than people.”

Before founding the nonprofit Global Action on Gun Violence in 2022, Lowy spent 25 years at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, named after James Brady, the former White House press secretary who was shot during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

At the Brady Center, Lowy spent decades trying to stem the tide of guns by suing gun manufacturers on behalf of America’s largest cities. Frustrated by the industry’s hold over U.S. politics, he decided to take his fight to the global community and exert pressure from the outside. Lowy also has a case before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, on behalf of the Oliver family, whose son, Joaquin, was murdered in the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school massacre. In the human rights case, Lowy argues for the constitutional “right not to be shot.” In this Q&A, Lowy discusses Mexico’s historic legal battle and his lifelong efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States.

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