The Iron River of Weapons to Mexico: Its Sources and Contents
A report by Stop US Arms to Mexico
June 2024

The iron river of weapons transiting from the United States to Mexico that empowers criminal organizations and accelerates forced migration originates from hundreds of gun manufacturers and passes through thousands of local U.S. gun dealers, every year. In reaction to the flow of illicit weapons, a firearms race has developed, in which gun companies export more and increasingly militarized weapons to Mexican police and military forces. 

But the number of lives lost or disappeared through violence in Mexico continues to increase, while migrants fleeing through Mexico have become understandably more desperate to get to safety. Political discourse focuses on the U.S.-Mexico border. But the unregulated, massive and militarized U.S. gun market that feeds the violence, drug trafficking, and displacement is growing – and often ignored.

The Stop US Arms to Mexico project obtained finely grained data, never before disclosed, on the origins of guns trafficked and exported to Mexico and Central America from the United States since 2015. We are publishing this data, in conjunction with this report, at

Download the report

Link to firearms tracing data released by ATF

Link to map of U.S. zip codes to which firearms recovered in Mexico and Central America were traced

Link to data on firearms sold to Mexican police

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