According to figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) , two million weapons have crossed from the United States to Mexico in 10 years. Check out their reports Here: SRE
To “freeze” the traffic of illegal weapons that arrive from the United States to Mexico, was the request of the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard , in his visit to the White House on Tuesday to evaluate the progress in the control of the migratory flow and avoid tariffs.
Thousands of firearms cross the border from north to south every year, a problem to which the Mexican government attributes part of the violence in the country.
These are the keys to understanding the importance and volume of weapons that arrive every year in Mexico, where the use of weapons is very restricted.
What is the legislation regarding the possession and use of weapons in Mexico ?
The 1917 Constitution originally spoke of the right to possess and bear arms “for your security and legitimate defense.”
In article 10 of the original text, the carrying of weapons in populations was subject to the “Police regulations”, and the use of weapons prohibited “expressly by law” or the use of security forces was denied.
In 1971 there was a reform to the Magna Carta and the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives was enacted in 1972, giving citizens the right to “possess weapons at home” provided they are not for government use only, adding that the ” Federal law will determine the cases, conditions and places ” for the portation.
In March of this year, the debate about the legality and use of weapons in Mexico was revived due to a decree that created the new security body, the National Guard, in whose text article 10 was also modified.
However, the changes were not substantial, since it was only added the National Guard as a new authorized body for the use of weapons.
How does arms trafficking impact violence in Mexico?
The Latin American country is immersed in a great crisis of violence and insecurity.
According to official data, the country recorded 35,964 homicides in 2018, a figure not seen since the counts began about two decades ago.
The wave of violence has not dropped in most high and low impact crimes since Andrés Manuel López Obrador came to the Presidency last December. In the first seven months of 2019, 20,135 homicides occurred.
Although the document presented at the meeting by the Mexican Foreign Ministry indicates that “there has been a substantial increase in the seizure of illegal firearms,” the figures remain alarming.
According to the data presented by the SRE, 70% of the crimes carried out with weapons were carried out with merchandise from the United States.
On the other hand, the document explains that 567 illegal firearms enter Mexico every day, and that 2,000,000 were entered in the last ten years.
According to an analysis by the University of Toronto published in the scientific journal “The Lancet Public Health” on June 19, between 1990 and 2015, Mexico was the fourth country with the most firearm deaths, 272,000, only preceded by Brazil, United States and Colombia.
Violence cost Mexico in 2017 21% of GDP, according to the Institute for Economy and Peace, a research center in public policy and citizen action.
What is Mexico’s proposal and what does the White House commit to?
The SRE recalled, in addition to migration, “illegal selling of arms is also a border security problem.”
Therefore, Ebrard proposed to establish additional arms and drug control operations at various points on the US side of the border: San Diego-Tijuana, El Paso-Ciudad Juárez, Laredo-Nuevo Laredo, McAllen-Reynosa and Brownsville-Matamoros.
In addition, the Mexican Foreign Minister explained during the post-meeting conference that since June the creation of a “binational group” dedicated to this issue had been agreed with Washington and that next week he will start working in Mexico.
“The objective is to know how many weapons a month we register that come illegally from the United States, follow up to see who sold them. That work, as far as I know, has never been done, ” he explained.
The response of the United States is being positive, since, according to the chancellor, Donald Trump himself said: “We are going to pay attention to what you are also worried about, which is the issue of weapons.”
“The illegal flow of weapons from the US to Mexico represents a common threat. (…) A bi-national group in Mexico has just been started to identify and implement concrete measures to combat this threat. Stay tuned! ”, The US ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau, published on social networks.
Mexican Citizens do have the right to bear arms under certain rules and additions of the new decree:
In accordance with the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives , possession of firearms must be reported to the Ministry of National Defense ( Sedena ) and registered with the Federal Register of Weapons.
The inhabitants of the United Mexican States have the right to possess weapons at home, for their security and legitimate defense, states the decree by which various provisions of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States are reformed, added and repealed, in matters of National Guard formation.
The document, published by the Ministry of the Interior and issued by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on March 22, specifies in article 10 that the weapons prohibited by Federal Law and those reserved for exclusive use of the permanent Armed Forces and reserve bodies are stillprohibited.
The decree appeared in the Official Gazette of the Federation ( DOF ) on March 22, 2019 and notes that the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives ultimately determines the cases, conditions, requirements and places where residents may be authorized for the carrying of weapons.
In Mexico, semi – automatic pistols of a caliber not larger than 9 millimeters may be carried, except for some models specified in paragraph 1 of article 9 of said law.
Revolvers of calibers not exceeding the special .38 can also be carried , except the .357 Magnum caliber.
In addition, Article 10 of the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives allows the possession of guns for shooting or hunting for their licensed possession and home possession , mainly .22 caliber weapons of circular fire and .38 caliber pistols for Olympic shooting and competition.
Shotguns of all their sizes can also be carried except those that have a barrel of less than 635 mm length or those of a caliber greater than 12.
Most powerful weapons are the narcos’ favorites: ATF
About 60% of the weapons acquired by Mexican cartels are .223 caliber, a civilian version of the M16 of the United States Army and 7.62, of the AK47 or the so-called “goat horn”, or ” cuerno de chivo” which experts say come from Romania and Asia.
Comunica Drafting: The Agency of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the United States (ATF, for its acronym in English) reveals that in recent years the Mexican cartels seek to have weapons of higher power, and also that 70% of the weapons come from that nation, ie, the US.
Custom “mini gun”, several of which were made by a Texan gunsmith, not knowing they were being ordered by Mexican drug cartels. They cost $14,000 to build and sold for $24,000 USD, from : Rolling Stone
Until the first half of 2015, the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) seized 13,121 long arms and 6, 634 short weapons, all for the exclusive use of the Armed Forces in Mexico.
Drug traffickers have become more selective and seek maximum power in their arsenal. Almost 60% of what they acquire are .223 caliber weapons, a civil version of the M16 of the United States Army and 7.62, of the AK47 or the so-called “goat horns,” warn experts consulted in the United States and Mexico.
During the last 10 years, drug cartels in Mexico have been supplied weapons reserved for the exclusive use by the Armed Forces.
Of the 2,921 records of the insured in Mexico, sold between 2006 and 2010 and that were tracked by the US government, 33% corresponds to the .223 caliber and 26% to the 7.62 caliber. 25% are weapons manufactured in other countries, such as Romania.
Between 2009 and 2014, of 104,850 weapons recovered in Mexico and tracked by the ATF, 78,684 (70%) were identified with origin in the United States, but 25% manufactured in other countries, such as the AK-47 of Romania.
In 2004, the United States government canceled the Assault Weapons Prohibition Act or Weapons Control Act, which dates back to 1968, which restricted imports of heavy weapons to that country, thereby restarting its purchase.
In operations against organized crime, the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) notes that between 2006 and June 2015, 16,177,653 cartridges seized, the majority of caliber of use reserved for the Armed Forces.
The .223 caliber insured weapons correspond largely to the Bushmaster AR-15, a civilian version of the M16 of the United States Army, with a 30-bullet magazine, which allows the shooter to fire a round of 30 ammunition in less than a minute.
Romarm / Cugir .762 from Romania correspond to versions of the AK47 imported to the United States, and once in the United States they are converted to a military version with 30-shot magazines, these are the ones that predominate in Mexico.
The Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) reveals that in the current sexennium, the number of weapons insured to date is 19,848, of which 13,214 are long weapons and 6,634 short, all are for exclusive use of the Armed Forces. While in the previous sexennium seized 125,717 weapons.
Federal Police reports indicate that of 17,926 insured weapons in the last six years, more than 7,000 were analyzed and it was determined that they were manufactured in 33 cities of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
The biggest seizures have been in Chihuahua, Baja California, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, México, Sonora and Nuevo León, with an arsenal that includes Barret .50 caliber rifles, which are anti aircraft and capable of penetrating armor.
Reports of the Attorney General’s Office indicate that of 44,153 long and short weapons insured between 2010 and 2014, there are no specific records of their origin or manufacture of 29,000 firearms, including machine guns.
Where does the weaponry come from?
The security analyst Alejandro Hope believes that drug cartels have rocket launchers, AK-47, Uzi machine guns, Galil rifles, fragmentation grenades, Barret rifles, AR-15 rifles and other heavy weapons. But where does the flow of weapons to Mexican cartels come from?
“As for the RPG (rocket-propelled grenade or rocket launcher), which are a smaller percentage in the arsenals of the narco, I would not be surprised if they came from Central America,” he says.
“At some point shipments of fragmentation grenades, which came from the Army of El Salvador, LAW missiles, military arsenals of Honduras that had been given by the United States in the 1980s, were tracked.”
However, the analyst points out that the majority of the arsenal consists of assault rifles or other weapons legally obtained in a given country, but that are illegally imported into Mexico.
“There are about 8,000 armories on the American side in border states, ‘gun shows’ weapons, secondary markets where they do not ask for identification or ask questions, it is more difficult to buy a car than a weapon. “
A study by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Academics in 2010, says that 90% of the narco’s weapons come from the United States. Other investigations by the US government have reported that the percentage is 70%.