Over 112,000 high-capacity magazines recovered at Mexican crime scenes

September 6, 2019 – The House Judiciary Committee will vote next week on legislation to ban high-capacity magazines that allow shooters to fire many rounds before re-loading. Such high-capacity magazines have drawn attention because of their use in mass shootings, such as the recent shooting in Dayton, Ohio, where the shooter had a 100-round drum, enabling him to kill nine people in less than a minute.

The purchase of high-capacity magazines is illegal in Mexico, but they are widely available at hundreds of retail gun shops in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Such magazines are used in violence by criminal organizations in Mexico, even more commonly than in the United States.

More than 70% of crime guns recovered in Mexico that were traced originated in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. “American and Mexican law enforcement officials say nearly all of the gun violence in Mexico is fueled by the illicit import and sale of U.S. firearms,” according to Newsweek.

H.R. 1186, sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), would prohibit the sale, possession or importation of magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds.

More than 112,000 high-capacity magazines have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico since 2011, according to an analysis by Global Exchange’s Stop US Arms to Mexico Project of data recently released by the Mexican army. These magazines make violence against government forces, civilians subject to extortion and other crimes, bystanders, and members of rival criminal groups more deadly. Mexico is experiencing the highest rate of gun homicides in its recorded history; if 70% of gun homicides in Mexico were committed with U.S.-sourced firearms, then U.S. guns killed more people in Mexico last year than in all of the U.S.

In her recently published book on Mexican army troops, La Tropa, Daniela Rea quotes an army soldier saying, “I would enter the barracks while the attendant slept and steal helmets, vests, take them out and sell them. A [weapon] magazine – I had tons of magazines!”

The Mexican army recovered 387,988 weapon magazines from January 2011 to June 2019; of these, 112,465 magazines were of calibers used only for high-capacity magazines.[1] The Mexican navy and justice department recovered another 185,254 magazines during the same period, but did not disaggregate data in a manner to identify how many were high-capacity magazines.

For information, contact: John Lindsay-Poland, Stop US Arms to Mexico, johnlindsaypoland@gmail.com.

[1] Secretaría de Defensa Nacional, June 18, 2019, response to public records request, Folio 0000700173419.

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