Mexico Losing the Fight Against Illegal Firearms

6/15/2017 InSight Crime

guns1Press reports have raised the alarm on decreasing gun seizures in Mexico and their possible impact on homicides, but the bigger issue may be the sheer size of Mexico’s black market.

The number of illegal firearms seized by Mexican authorities dropped by more than 60 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to Milenio.

Citing data from the Defense Department (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional), the news outlet reported on June 15 that seizures stood at 9,474 in 2013, but only 3,593 in 2016.

Nearly 28,000 illegal weapons were seized between December 2012, when President Enrique Peña Nieto took office, and May 2017. A total of 3,324 of grenades were also taken out of circulation during that period. Grenade seizures decreased by nearly 70 percent between 2013 and 2016, however.

These figures indicate that Mexican authorities seized an average of 17 weapons and 2 grenades per day since Peña Nieto took office. The majority of these firearms were high powered weapons.

A separate report by Animal Político noted that the number of investigations for carrying or stocking illegal firearms dropped steeply between the first four months of 2015 and those of 2017, while the number of cases opened for gun-related homicides during those same periods increased by 70 percent, numbering 5,075 cases between January and May 2017.

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