WASHINGTON, DC (June 14, 2017) Members of Congress this week called on the governors of four U.S. states on the southern border to do more to stop illegal gun trafficking into Mexico. “Sales of firearms without a background check pose a threat not only to peaceful civilian life in America but also claim thousands of innocent Mexican lives every year,” said the letter signed by 18 Congressional Representatives, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
Seventy percent of guns recovered and traced from crime scenes in Mexico were purchased in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Most of these were purchased in California, Texas, and Arizona, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The lawmakers urged governors of Border States to “ensure that persons suspected of trafficking guns to Mexico do not have access to firearms, especially semi-automatic assault weapons.”
“As more U.S. guns enter Mexico, many of them assault weapons, the violence associated with them is costing lives and accelerating emigration,” said John Lindsay-Poland of the American Friends Service Committee. In the first four months of 2017, Mexico saw more than 5,000 gun homicides, or 42 a day – a higher rate than in any year since the 1990s, according to statistics published by Mexico’s Secretiariat of the Interior.
“U.S. Border States should institute greater controls over southbound commercial activity,” the Congressional letter said. “Agencies charged with enforcing firearm laws should be provided effective mandates, funding, and leadership.”
“We are not taking care of our neighbors. Our guns and our lack of gun violence prevention laws are killing people in Mexico,” said Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.
The 18 signers of the letter include the Co-chair of the Human Rights Caucus, James McGovern (MA), Progressive Caucus Co-chair Raul Grijalva (AZ), and Central America Caucus Chair Norma Torres (CA). Others signers are Lloyd Doggett (TX), Barbara Lee (CA), Jerry McNerney (CA), Mark Takano (CA), Grace Napolitano (CA), Julia Brownley (CA), Juan Vargas (CA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Adriano Espaillat (NY), Tom Suozzi (NY), Luis Gutiérrez (IL), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Pramila Jayapal (WA), Lacy Clay (MO), and David Cicilline (RI).