The Mexican government estimates that between 70 and 90% of illegal firearms come from the United States, more than half a million weapons that increase murders in the country

Mexico, fifth country with the most unregistered firearms in the world

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During the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS), on the occasion of the commemoration of the Inter-American Day to Counter the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Alejandro Celorio, legal consultant to the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that his nation is the "fifth country in the world with the most unregistered firearms".

This public statement coincides with the different data on illegal gun ownership in Mexico, Small Arms Survey estimates that "there are more than 13 million unregistered weapons in circulation in our country despite the fact that Mexican gun ownership laws are strict and there is only one office administered by the Ministry of Defence (...) for civilians to apply for permits and purchase firearms," argued Alejandro Celorio Alcántara, during his intervention. 

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According to official figures from Andrés López Obrador's government, between 70 and 90% of the weapons seized in Mexico originate in the United States, and it is estimated that "every year more than half a million firearms are trafficked from the United States to our country", Celorio alleged.

According to research, the weaponry is often designed for military use, which gives Mexican criminal groups significant firepower, resulting in "massacres that leave dozens dead in a couple of minutes", said the Mexican representative in a sign of concern. 

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As a preventive measure, Alejandro Celorio stated, during his appearance at the OAS, that "governments have the opportunity to encourage the private sector, with due diligence, due care, to prevent their products from causing damage and, in the case of weapons, and more so in the case of weapons designed for military use, from falling into the hands of criminals". 

Prevention, the best weapon against criminal groups 

Mexico is working in coordination with the United States to combat and prevent illegal arms trafficking. Border and customs efforts are succeeding as part of the crime containment plan, but manufacturing and distribution companies remain an unresolved component in managing this conflict. armas ilegales mexico

In August 2021, the Mexican government filed a civil lawsuit against these US companies, as they consider that "their negligent and illicit activities facilitate the trafficking of their product, generating this spiral of violence", said Celorio.

For his part, the US representative to the OAS, Bradley Freden, sided with the Mexican government and affirmed that his country "recognises its responsibility to do its part to prevent the illegal export of firearms to our neighbours, and is committed to working with Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and other countries in the region to stop the illegal movement of firearms across borders"

armas ilegales mexico

During his appearance, Alejandro Celorio argued that illicit arms trafficking is not a problem that only concerns Mexico, but that many other countries in the OAS region also face this situation.  armas ilegales mexico

This arms crisis has a high social cost for the countries that suffer from it. Gastón Schulmeister, Director of the OAS Department of Organised Crime, pointed out that "the illicit trafficking of firearms is directly associated with the actions of transnational criminal organisations and linked to other illicit markets such as drug trafficking, illegal mining, human trafficking, among others".

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra