An estimated 200,000 firearms are trafficked from the U.S. to Mexico annually, contributing to the country’s drug and cartel violence. As law enforcement grapples with this issue, Mexico is suing U.S. gun dealers, albeit previous attempts have failed.
- U.S. to Mexico gun smuggling is a well-documented practice, with Mexican leaders advocating for stricter firearm laws on the U.S. side of the border. Recently, a gun-running operation involving two Ohio men believed to have sold at least 90 rifles to people they believed worked for Mexican cartels was dismantled.
- These weapons largely contribute to organized crime violence in Mexico. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an analysis from 2014 to 2018 found 70% of firearms recovered in Mexico originated from the U.S.
- Tracing these firearms back to their original owners is challenging due to untraceable sales, inconsistent data collection, and methods of purchase, such as consignment shops or person-to-person transactions.
- To address the issue, Mexico and the U.S. entered into a bilateral agreement in 2021, making stopping and prosecuting firearms trafficking an explicitly shared goal. Mexico has also twice filed lawsuits against U.S. gun manufacturers.
- The type of trafficked guns includes .50 caliber sniper rifles capable of shooting down helicopters and penetrating lightly armored vehicles and bulletproof glass, underlining the severity of the issue and its impact on drug trafficking and violence.