The Stop US Arms to Mexico program is a cross-border initiative to reduce violence and protect human rights by ending the flow of guns.
Gun violence in Mexico, committed by both state and non-state forces, has grown to unprecedented levels in recent years. From 2010 through 2022, Mexico experienced more than 214,000 gun homicides. Communities are living in a climate of extreme violence and impunity, where gun homicides, torture, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary arrests are committed daily with no one held accountable. This gun violence does not impact all equally or in the same way. Migrants traversing Mexico, Mexicans of African descent, Indigenous Peoples, those without material resources, and women are disproportionately affected, often in invisible ways.
The majority of these violent acts are committed with firearms trafficked illegally or exported legally from the United States. A staggering 70 percent of firearms recovered from crime scenes in Mexico are from the U.S.
Criminal organizations in Mexico obtain weapons primarily from the United States, from which they are trafficked across the commercially busy border with Mexico. At the same time, Mexico has increasingly militarized its security policies, with assistance from the United States, especially since the declaration of the war on drugs in Mexico in 2006. Mexico is by far the largest purchaser of U.S. firearms in Latin America, with no controls on end uses of those exports.
Global Exchange’s Stop US Arms to Mexico project has been working for nearly a decade to call for action to significantly reduce U.S. legal arms sales (to pre-Merida Initiative levels) and stop illegal gun trafficking to Mexico. The project is a collaboration of Global Exchange in the United States and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights in Mexico.
Stop U.S.-Fueled Violence in Mexico
Policymakers in Washington know that the Mexican state and armed forces are deeply involved in widespread crimes, and also that they have committed serious human rights violations with weapons by the U.S. Yet since 2012, Washington has sold billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment to those same forces.