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Mexico — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Mexico is 15,500,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Mexico is 15.01 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Mexico ranked at No. 72

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Mexico ranked at No. 421

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Mexico is reported to be

2012: 3,118,5923
2009: 2,033,749
2006: 2,824,2314

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Mexico is

2012: 2.665
2009: 1.81
2006: 2.65

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Mexico are reported to have 852,1506 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Mexico are reported to have 75,6007 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Mexico, annual homicides by any means total

2011: 27,1998
2010: 24,3748 9
2009: 19,803
2008: 14,006
2007: 8,8678 9 10
2006: 12,078
2005: 11,181
2004: 11,149
2003: 11,741
2002: 11,598
2001: 11,856
2000: 12,295
1999: 14,1868 10
1998: 15,425
1997: 15,080
1996: 15,956
1995: 16,978
1994: 15,84410
1993: 16,056
1992: 16,605
1991: 15,143
1990: 14,520

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Mexico, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 23.78
2010: 21.58 9
2009: 17.7
2008: 12.7
2007: 8.1
2006: 11.2
2005: 10.5
2004: 10.6
2003: 11.3
2002: 11.3
2001: 11.7
2000: 12.3
1999: 14.48
1998: 15.9
1997: 15.8
1996: 17.0
1995: 18.4
1994: 17.5811

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Mexico, annual firearm homicides total

2010: 11,3098
2009: 8,804
2008: 5,095
2007: 4,040
2006: 3,6108 12
2005: 3,209
2004: 2,8588
2003: 3,006
2002: 2,6068 13
2001: 3,512
2000: 3,6058 14
1999: 8,780
1998: 6,572
1997: 5,0448

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Mexico, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 10.08 9
2009: 7.9
2008: 4.6
2007: 3.7
2006: 3.3
2005: 3.0
2004: 2.7
2003: 2.9
2002: 2.5
2001: 3.5
2000: 3.6
1999: 8.98 14
1998: 6.8
1997: 5.38
1994: 9.8815

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Mexico, annual suicides by any means total

2006: 4,26616
2001: 3,75717

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Mexico, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2006: 4.0018
2005: 4.10
2001: 3.6317
1994: 2.8919

Gun Suicides

In Mexico, annual firearm suicides total 2001: 71417

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Mexico, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2001: 0.6917
1994: 0.9120

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Mexico, annual unintentional shooting deaths total 2001: 48417

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Mexico, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2001: 0.4717
1994: 1.2721

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

In Mexico, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total 2001: 817

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

In Mexico, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is 2001: 0.0117

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Mexico, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence22 23 24 25

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Mexico is ranked 'small'26

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Mexico, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law27 28 29 30 31 32

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Mexico is reported by Customs to be US$22,273,02233 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Mexico is categorized as 'minor'34

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Mexico, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law27 28 35 36 30 31 32 25

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Mexico is reported by Customs to be US$49,024,99633 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Mexico is high37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Mexico, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law46 47

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Mexico include32 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

In the most recent survey of state transparency in declaring firearm and ammunition exports among major small arms exporting nations, Mexico was ranked at No. 3548

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Mexico is categorised as restrictive49

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Mexico includes the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives 2004,50 the Regulation of the Federal Firearms Law and Explosives,51 and Articles 160 to 163 of the Penal Code25

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Mexico are regulated by the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of the Interior52 53 54

Right to Possess Firearms

In Mexico, the right to private gun ownership is guaranteed by law55 56

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Mexico, civilians are not allowed to possess military grade firearms intended for Army, Navy and Air Force use, including: .357 Magnum revolvers and those greater than .38 calibre, handguns greater than 9mm, rifles and carbines of .223, 7mm, 7.62 and .30 calibres, automatic firearms, or shotguns with barrels shorter than 635mm or greater than 12 gauge57 58 59

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Mexico, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited58 57

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Mexico, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence60 61 62

Regulation of Handguns

In Mexico, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence,60 61 62 with some exceptions based on manufacturer and calibre57

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Mexico, only licensed gun owners63 64 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Mexico are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, target shooting, rodeo riding, collection, personal protection, or employment65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Mexico is 18 years73

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Mexico must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, physical and addiction65 71 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Mexico, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required to carry pistols and revolvers72

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Mexico does not stipulate46 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Mexico, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required46 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Mexico gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every two years, for carry permits64

Licensing Records

In Mexico, authorities maintain a record74 70 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Mexico are permitted to possess 2 firearms for legitimate defence purposes. To own more than two firearms requires special justification75

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Mexico are permitted to possess only 500 cartridges in .22 caliber, 1,000 cartridges for shotguns and 200 cartridges for other arms76 77

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Mexico, the law requires78 79 80 81 70 52 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In Mexico, licensed firearm dealers are required82 83 84 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Mexico, licensed gun makers are required85 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Mexico, State agencies are required79 86 81 87 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Mexico, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited, except in extraordinary cases88 89 72

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Mexico, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful84 22 72

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In Mexico, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to one firearm per transaction. To sell individuals more than one gun, dealers must have receive special permission in advance90

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Mexico, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined46

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Mexico, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated46 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Mexico include91 92 93 69 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in Mexico include23 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Mexico include94 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Mexico include95 96 97 98 99 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Mexico, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law87 85 100

Firearm Tracing

In Mexico, state authorities carry out87 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Mexico, state authorities employ87 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Mexico, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit65 72 61 71 97

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Mexico, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed, subject to a valid permit65 72 61 71 97

Gun Free Zones

In Mexico, private guns are prohibited in public demonstrations and celebrations and in deliberative assemblies101

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Mexico, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is 7 years prison102

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Mexico are known to have103 104 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

In Mexico, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 28,302103 (2007), and 79,074104 (2009)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Mexico, it is state policy85 105 106 107 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Mexico adopted the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), a legally binding multilateral treaty of which the OAS is depository. The CIFTA Convention has since been signed and ratified108 109 by Mexico

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

At the resumption of the most recent session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (UNCCPCJ), a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, Mexico was listed as an elected member for a three-year term of office110

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was signed in 2006111 by Mexico.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified112 by Mexico

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed and ratified113 by Mexico

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Mexico committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects114

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Mexico has submitted one or more national reports115 116 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Mexico, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated117 116

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Mexico, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated117 116

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Mexico submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent116 118

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have not been donated116 by Mexico to other UN Member States

UNPoA International Assistance – Recipient

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been provided116 to Mexico by other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Mexico has declared119 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Mexico has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945120

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies does not list121 Mexico as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

For a profile of conflict in Mexico, select the Link icon to open an external web page from the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia at Uppsala University

Global Peace Index

To see where Mexico ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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