Report: Gun Violence and Illegal Firearms Trafficking on the U.S.- Mexican Border
Mexico is under siege, its democratic governance is at risk. This report examines the role of the
U.S. civilian gun market in the drug-related violence in Mexico that is creeping northward into
the United States.
Part One provides an overview of the conflict and its links with the United States. These links
include the “drug war,” the U.S. civilian firearms market, and transnational street gangs involved
in drug and firearms trafficking.
Part Two outlines in more detail the role of the U.S. civilian gun market in fueling the war in
Mexico. It focuses on weak regulation and the deliberate introduction of military-style firearms
that today define the civilian market.
Part Three suggests ways to control the firearms traffic. It emphasizes “upstream” measures to
inhibit the movement of firearms from legal commerce into illegal trade, as opposed to only law
enforcement efforts, which are aimed “downstream” and focus on apprehending and prosecuting
smugglers after the damage is done. Some steps can be taken immediately by strong presidential
leadership without the need for new legislation. Others require legislation or rule-making
* The Violence Policy Center located in Washington D.C.is a national, non-profit educational organization that coordinates research and public education on violance in America and provides information and analysis to policymakers, journalists, advocates and the general public.