Can Mexico Benefit From Gun Regulation In The United States?

After the massacre that occurred at the Uvalde school, the controversial possession of firearms that affects not only the United States, but also other countries is once again under discussion.

Gun on the sand with shards of bullets

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LatinAmerican Post | Nicolás Donoso Álvarez

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Leer en español: ¿Puede México beneficiarse con una regulación de armas en Estados Unidos?

It seems that in the United States, unfortunately, history repeats itself over and over again, the covers of the main media seem to relate something that has already been read countless times before. On this occasion, the scene was Uvalde, the murderer a young man of 18 years and the victims 19 children and two teachers. As a result of this new massacre in a school establishment, the debate revolves around free access to firearms, mental health and the insecurity that people feel in the face of events that are repeated over the years, months, weeks and the days.

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But this mass shooting has not been the only one in recent years, you just have to go back to 2017 when 58 people died and more than 500 were injured in what was an attack at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. And in 2016 an attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando left 49 people dead, in what was considered a homophobic attack.

According to data provided by the Swiss organization Small Arms Survey (SAS), during the pandemic the purchase of weapons skyrocketed. In 2020, people bought 22.8 million weapons and in 2021, 19.9 million units were sold. These figures provided by SAS are supported by information provided by the FBI and reveal that they do not skimp on the possession of weapons.

Arms trafficking across the border

But the debate crosses the border and conditions more than one country. Already in 2021, the Mexican government sued a group of US arms companies, where they pointed out that in the United States these companies promote "negligent and illicit" practices, which facilitate illegal arms trafficking to Mexico" . Months later, both nations signed a security plan called Bicentennial Understanding, in which both countries established a gradual plan to reduce the violence and murders committed on the border and in the midst of drug trafficking that is not stopping.

This year, on April 1, the undersecretary of the United States Office of Anti-Narcotics Affairs, Heide Fulton, indicated in an interview conducted by the newspaper El País that both Mexico and the United States are working to "find ways to strengthen border controls to reduce the flow of weapons, and also in mechanisms such as extraditions and other judicial measures, such as penalizing those who are illegally importing weapons into Mexico.

This means that, in the diagnosis of the authorities, it is clear that there are complications not only within the country led by Joe Biden with the purchase and possession of weapons, but also in its neighboring countries. And they know that there is a weapons lobby, but they do not know how to fight it and the most complex thing is that this also affects Mexico, a territory that denounced through its foreign minister that from Massachusetts 250,000 weapons that came from that state had been Confiscated in Mexico. Furthermore, the Government indicated that in 2019 the illegal sale of these weapons produced, at least, 17,000 murders that year.

Possible solutions for Mexico?

Reducing the illicit flow of weapons is urgent, but it is seen as a utopian goal, especially in Mexico, a country where 80% of homicides are linked to drug trafficking, according to the numbers shown by the NGO Semáforo Delictivo. Now, a reform of the arms law that prevails in the United States could benefit Mexico in the long term, or at least that is what one might think.

Restricting access to firearms in the United States or making their purchase illegal would make the illicit arms trade that takes place across the border more difficult, and this, in turn, could mean that firearms reach Mexico,  fewer weapons to prevent them from being marketed in the Aztec country. In this way, a possible solution would be opened for Mexico, but it would not be known in detail how effective this would be in a country where drug trafficking has a gigantic and incalculable presence.

In any case, while the United States regrets a new attack and engages in eternal discussions that do not reach any solution, in Mexico they pay attention to everything that is happening with their neighbors. Because if there is something that both share, it is that weapons have ended the lives of many innocent people, and this remains in the dark history of both North American countries. If the authorities want to act, it is time for them to do so with the urgency and with the necessary intelligence, or for the umpteenth time there will be a tragedy.