Guns from the U.S. do not only affect its own country with gun violence, but about 2,000 weapons find their way from the United States to the hands of criminal organizations in Mexico, strengthening their lethal capabilities, said the National Security Commissioner Renato Sales.
The increasing availability of weapons in Mexico is one of the factors that contributes to violent deaths, said Sales during a conference on gun violence at the National Autonomous University of Mexico Tuesday. In 2006, the year the so-called ‘war on drugs’ began, three out of ten homicides were committed with guns. Today it’s seven out of every ten.
“The U.S. counts with the biggest amount of weapons in the world. It has more weapons than inhabitants: more than 300 million weapons,” he said.
Today, the Mexican military has checkpoints installed near the border to search for drugs and weapons going to the U.S., but there’s little control over what comes the other way around. Meanwhile, the U.S. resists any more restrictions or higher standards for gun regulation.
“Weapons, illegal money, human trafficking and drugs use the same border crossings. The U.S. asks us to support their immigration policy and we ask them to support the weapons policy,” said Sales. “It’s ironic, but it’s much more simple to go and buy a high-caliber gun than cough syrup: to buy the syrup you need a medical prescription and for a weapon, nothing.”
According to Sara Irene Herreria, a deputy attorney for human rights, the lack of gun control on guns orginating in the U.S. makes weapons trafficking one of the most complex sectors of the black market in Mexico, reaching organized crime spheres as well as common criminals.
In 2018, 42.2 percent of crime victims nationwide declared that a gun was used during the incident. In Mexico City, that number increased to 49.1 percent.
The lack of regulation on the U.S. gun market not only affects Mexico, but gun violence has also taken thousands of lives there. Between 2014 and 2017 there were 56,755 people killed by guns, out of which 2,710 were children under 12 years old. Also, in 2018 alone, there have been more than 30 mass shootings.