It’s a misconception that guns are illegal in Mexico, in fact, Mexico’s constitution guarantees the right to arms, although the country does not believe a right to ownership translates into the right to easy access.
In Mexico, 58% of Mexicans are in favor of the possession of firearms in homes and 50% support the possession of weapons in businesses or workspaces, according to a recent survey “Possession and use of firearms in Mexico ”, prepared by the agency dedicated to public opinion research and market research, Enkoll.
When asked “ Do you consider that having a firearm in your home makes it a safer or less dangerous place? ”, 53% of those interviewed responded affirmatively and 47% considered that, on the contrary, the presence of weapons in a home would make it riskier.
Regarding the ease or difficulty that Mexicans considered to obtain a firearm in the country, 19% responded that it was something “very difficult”, while 39% considered it “difficult” and, on the contrary, 42% thought it was “easy”.
Thirty-four percent of respondents felt it was “likely” (23% very likely and 11% likely) that they would get a firearm; while, on the other hand, 66% (20% somewhat likely and 46% not at all likely) answered negatively.
More than half of those interviewed, 62%, agreed that if people in Mexico had the right to carry firearms, crime rates would increase.
Of those surveyed, 17% admitted living in a home with firearms and 33 percent said they grew up in a home with access to weapons. Also, 52% claimed to know someone who owned a firearm, while 38% claimed to have fired a weapon at least once in their life.
People who own weapons stand out for a particularity: the significant difference by gender. Of the total number of men surveyed, 23% claimed to own a firearm, while only 12% were women.
The main reasons that the interviewees gave for having a firearm were: self-defense, with 41%; followed by the practice of sports shooting, hunting, and collecting, with 21%, 19%, and 11% respectively. Only 8% stated that they carried a gun as part of their employment.
Another noteworthy aspect was how the crime incidence factor directly influences the positive opinion of the possession of weapons: of the total number of people who have been victims of a crime in the last year, 77% supported the possession of firearms in the home.
The study prepared by Enkoll was carried out based on 1,622 face-to-face interviews with men and women who had valid electoral credentials.
Mexico registered 33,308 homicides in 2021 after the two most violent years in its history, under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with 34,690 murder victims in 2019 and 34,554 in 2020.
Requirements for buying a gun in Mexico
While the right to own a gun is protected by the constitution in Mexico, the ownership is limited to individuals who have completed a full criminal background check nationally and have obtained a psychiatric evaluation and letter from a licensed phycologist, among other requirements.
Every Mexican man is legally required to do military service for one year, in which they receive a military identification. The military service includes social services on the weekends and does not require military training or combat service. Any male wishing to obtain a firearm must have their military service completed or an exception letter from the military. Females only require a birth certificate, and foreigners can use their FM2.
In addition to the identification, the firearm applicant must obtain a letter of employment from their employee or proof of retirement or self-employment.
Applicants for firearms are also required to obtain letters from all three levels of government, local, state, and federal, with a criminal record background check.
Applicants must present a letter from a licensed phycologist clearing the applicant to own a firearm.
Applicant must have a copy of proof of address, normally a utility bill in the applicant’s name.
Applicants must have the original and photocopy of their passport or driver’s license.
Applicants must have a copy of their CURP.
Each of these items must also be presented at the government-controlled ammunition depot for every purchase of ammunition. None of the documents can be older than six months, so a psychiatric evaluation and background checks are required every six months in order to purchase ammunition.
People who meet the requirements established by law to acquire firearms may purchase them in person at the facilities of the Arms and Ammunition Marketing Directorate of the General Directorate of Military Industry of the Ministry of National Defense. Guns and ammunition are not available for purchase through any private business.
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