Wednesday, January 16, 2013
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama outlined his package of proposals to “reduce gun violence” in the United States. The key issues the White House is seeking to introduce are: universal background checks for all gun sales, the reinstatement of a ban on assault rifles ban and a 10-round limit on magazines.
One of the proposals includes gun trafficking law that would make the act a federal crime.
So, we kick off another national gun debate. But what do gun laws look like south of our border? Is it surprising to hear that it’s far more difficult to legally purchase a gun in Mexico than the U.S.?
Here are some interesting facts:
• Like the United States, the Mexican constitution guarantees the right to bear arms.
• Up until the 1960s, firearms were widely available, but student unrest in those years inspired a crackdown and a strengthening of gun control laws.
• There is now only one legal gun store in Mexico — in Mexico City — and buyers must wait months for approval of purchase from the Ministry of Defense.
• Purchases are limited to small caliber, non-military weapons, including hunting rifles, that must be kept at home; semi-automatic weapons are only sold to military and police.
• Mexican law prohibits private citizens from openly carrying a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon.
• There is robust illegal trafficking in firearms from the U.S. to Mexico. Many accounts have it that up to 90 percent of illegal guns in Mexico are from the U.S., but that figure is widely disputed as it comes from confiscated firearms turned over by the Mexicans to U.S. authorities.
• The Mexico and U.S. are closely interlinked when it comes to gun control laws. A recent paper contends the 2004 U.S. Federal Assault Weapons Ban had a “measurable” impact on the rates of violence in Northern Mexico.