Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive

Engel Welcomes New Report on Firearms Trafficking to Mexico

US House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs - Democrats, Media release

11 January 2016

Relevant contents

The [new Government Accountability Office (GAO)] report makes several findings, including the following:

- Of the firearms seized in Mexico and traced from 2009 to 2014, 70 percent originated in the United States. An additional 13 percent have an undetermined country of origin while the remaining 17 percent are of non-U.S. origin. According to ATF data, most were purchased legally in gun shops and at gun shows in the United States and then trafficked illegally to Mexico. Often, so-called "straw purchasers" will illegally purchase firearms at gun shops on behalf of individuals who are prohibited from buying firearms.

- High caliber firearms—the weapons of choice for drug traffickers—make up half of all firearms seized in Mexico and traced.

- The transport of weapons parts from the U.S. to Mexico to be assembled into finished firearms is complicating bilateral efforts to combat illegal firearms trafficking as it allows these parts to discretely flow into Mexico with little detection.

- ATF's Implementation of Demand Letter 3—which requires licensed dealers and pawnbrokers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple sales of certain rifles—has made it more difficult for firearms traffickers to acquire long guns. ATF reported that this information has allowed them to identify arms traffickers in a timelier manner.

- As ATF and ICE work to stop firearms trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico, gaps in information sharing and continued misunderstandings between the two agencies can be addressed through better monitoring of their existing MOU.

[ATF = Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; MOU = Memorandum of Understanding; ICE = Immigrations and Customs Enforcement]

ID: N426

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