There is but a single, solitary gun shop authorized to exist in all of Mexico. It is the Army's Directorate of Arms and Munitions Sales located in Mexico City; this shop sells about 7,000 guns per year. Handgun sales to civilians are limited to .38 caliber and below but most purchases are for .22 cal. It is next to impossible to get a permit for a .357, .40 or .45 handgun.
In addition to a single retail outlet, Mexico's gun laws are very similar to those of Great Britain, among the most restrictive in the world.
If this is so, then why does Mexico have a murder rate almost three times greater than the US?
Murders per 100,000 population
Mexico .......... 13.02
USA ............... 4.28
Mexico blames the US and so does the Obama administration. In 2009 the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an 83 page report which was widely proclaimed to prove that 87% of firearms confiscated by Mexican authorities were purchased in the United States.
This report was patently false and, I believe, deliberately misleading. The following is an analysis of the GAO report by Scott Stewart of STRATFOR.
The following summary is very important.
According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.
This means that the 87 percent figure relates to the number of weapons submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF that could be successfully traced and not from the total number of weapons seized by Mexican authorities or even from the total number of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing. In fact, the 3,480 guns positively traced to the United States equals less than 12 percent of the total arms seized in Mexico in 2008 and less than 48 percent of all those submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF for tracing. This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.
[...] Of course, some or even many of the 22,800 firearms the Mexicans did not submit to ATF for tracing may have originated in the United States. But according to the figures presented by the GAO, there is no evidence to support the assertion that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels come from the United States — especially when not even 50 percent of those that were submitted for tracing were ultimately found to be of U.S. origin.
To really understand Mexico’s gun problem, however, it is necessary to recognize that the same economic law of supply and demand that fuels drug smuggling into the United States also fuels gun smuggling into Mexico. Black market guns in Mexico can fetch up to 300 percent of their normal purchase price — a profit margin rivaling the narcotics the cartels sell. Even if it were somehow possible to hermetically seal the U.S.-Mexico border and shut off all the guns coming from the United States, the cartels would still be able to obtain weapons elsewhere — just as narcotics would continue to flow into the United States from other places. The United States does provide cheap and easy access to certain types of weapons and ammunition, but as demonstrated by groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, weapons can be easily obtained from other sources via the black arms market — albeit at a higher price.
There has clearly been a long and well-documented history of arms smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border, but it is important to recognize that, while the United States is a significant source of certain classes of weapons and ammunition, it is by no means the source of 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican cartels, as is commonly asserted.
But we're not done with this mess. Federal law enforcement agencies muddy the waters with "sting" operations that in some cases are the case of mini-crime waves. Federal dollars become available for local law enforcement to purchase stolen goods through false storefront operations and the local hoods go into a thieving frenzy; or worse. We'll discuss this tomorrow.
"Mexico's Gun Supply and the 90 Percent Myth" is republished with permission of STRATFOR. STRATFOR is an excellent source of global intelligence with over two million readers.
H/T to Charley.