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Firearms in Mexico: Reports and Their Reliability Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2021


The problem of firearms in Mexico has recently been spinning out of control, causing both citizens and state authorities to reconsider the current concept of managing the specified issue and the reasonability of firearms being readily available. Despite the criminalization of firearms possession in Mexico, the local criminal market has been thriving due to the trafficking of firearms from the U.S. to Mexico (Martinez, 2019). By revisiting the present approach to managing citizens’ movement from Mexico o the U.S., as well as imposing more rigid legal standards for gun possession, the Mexican government may be able to address the current problem of firearms owned by its citizens.

A report published lately to discuss the subject matter has shown that the border debate, which has been going on for several years running, has been obscured to the point where its actual effects on the well-being of Mexican citizens have been lost entirely. Specifically, the affordability of firearms and the vast opportunities to purchase them to traffic them to Mexico have not been addressed properly, leaving a huge legal gap for criminals to use and aggravate the current situation. According to Martinez (2019), a PBS writer, “A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed that 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico by Mexican authorities and submitted for tracing have a U.S. origin” (para. 5). The author derives key information from recent reports, which makes it a descriptive case study. To resolve the concern at hand, one will need a joint effort from Mexico and the U.S., yet the lack of response from the latter does not allow minimizing the damage and establishing at least a modicum of control over the situation.

However, apart from external factors, the issue of gun control in Mexico is also aggravated by the rapidly developing criminal market, which has built an immensely strong presence despite the efforts of law enforcement. Vanda Felbab-Brown (2019), a senior at Brookings, states that there is a trend toward rapid, exponential growth of the Mexican criminal market, which the availability of guns enhances. The general rate of criminal violence in Mexico, which has been spiraling out of control over the past few years, has reached its climax in 2019, has intensified and diversified to the point where it can hardly be addressed (Felbab-Brown, 2019). The Mexican police, in turn, have been losing control over criminal activities within the state due to the lack of qualified staff and the resources required to embrace the scale and speed of the problem development. Using a descriptive methodological approach, the author concedes that the present issue with organized crime in Mexico can hardly be managed.

Moreover, the fact that criminal groups in Mexico are highly fragmented makes it extraordinarily difficult for the police to curb the levels of organized crime. Due to the fragmented nature of crime in Mexico, the problem has to be addressed on an institutional level, for which the law enforcement has neither resources nor opportunities (Felbab-Brown, 2019). Consequently, defining the supply chain of firearms within the criminal world of Mexico does not seem to be a possibility, whereas handling separate cases of gun trafficking is highly unproductive, with the number of resources spent on each problem being unreasonably high compared to the output (Felbab-Brown, 2019). Consequently, the issue of firearms in Mexico is not addressed on a local level due to the vast infrastructure of gangs and organized crime, as well as the lack of cohesion in the actions of police and the low extent of power thereof.

Nonetheless, even with all the difficulties presented above, there have been attempts to create measures for addressing the concern of firearms trafficking in Mexico. In this context, the report by Jess T. Ford (2009), a representative of the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Justice, has to be mentioned as an important account of the essential steps that have been made so far to introduce the standards for handling the firearms crisis in Mexico. According to the author, the main efforts have been centered on the system of gun sales reporting, as well as collaboration between the U.S. security services and those of Mexico (Ford, 2009). However, according to the results of Ford’s research based on the review of recent studies, due to the rapidly developing criminal infrastructure of Mexico, the described endeavors have been mostly futile.

The updates made to some of the foundational legal standards for transporting firearms from Mexico to the U.S. were expected to bring positive changes to the situation observed in Mexico. For instance, the creation of the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy and the introduction of the chapter devoted to the illegal transportation of firearms into it were legitimate efforts in addressing the problem of gun violence in Mexico (Ford, 2009). The reinforced legal principles were seen as the cornerstone of a new system of control that would help to bring down the number of firearms trafficked into Mexico. Nonetheless, the efforts made to manage the issue at hand have had comparatively little effect on the management of the gun violence problem in Mexico so far. The report states that the increase in the availability of guns in the U.S. has contributed vastly to the rise of the problem of gun violence in Mexico, making the problem practically unmanageable at this point (Ford, 2009).


While the situation observed in Mexico presently is appalling, it is important to distinguish between objective information and the one that is represented in a biased way. For this reason, each source has to be tested for the reliability of its information. Considering the source from which the information came should be seen as the first step toward establishing the reliability of the sources. Specifically, it is worth mentioning that public sites and especially encyclopedias that can be edited by any user are deemed as highly unreliable for obvious reasons, which is why the domain of the site from which the data was retrieved is seen as an important characteristic of the resource. In the case under analysis, the reports by Felbab-Brown (2019) and Ford (2009) can be regarded as highly reputable since the former comes from a.edu site, while the latter is provided at a.gov site. Specifically, the resources are represented by the Brookings University and the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Justice, correspondingly, which makes them quite trustworthy and reliable sources of information.

In this regard, the report by Martinez, which comes from PBS.org, while being an admittedly well put together and excellently researched material, does not have the same extent of trustworthiness due to the domain of the site. However, when considering the organization by which the material was provided, one will have to admit that it has quite a strong and impressive history of delivering news of rather high trustworthiness. Nonetheless, the fact that the domain name in question is not affiliated with any educational or governmental organization reduces the credibility and reliability of the data presented in it to a significant extent.

Another important mark of a trustworthy source, the date of its publishing, also needs to be listed among the key characteristics that should be paid attention to when evaluating its potential as research evidence material. While the information published earlier than five years ago could technically be correct as it pertains to its time period, recent developments, discoveries, or changes in perspectives may make the information outdated very quickly. The described phenomenon can be seen in the report by Ford (2009), which, while having been produced by a very reputable organization, is still quite outdated and needs the support of more recent sources. The strategies used for managing increasingly high rates of firearm trafficking have been outlined in the paper, yet, due to the date of its publishing, it is likely to lack a substantial number of the approaches that have been developed lately to counteract the problem of firearms in Mexico. As a result, the reliability of the information suffers since the efficacy of some of the approaches described in the paper remains questionable.

In this regard, the reliability of the reports by Felbab-Brown (2019) and Martinez (2019) can be deemed as quite high. Both sources have been published recently and, thus, have managed to incorporate detailed accounts of the latest concerns in regard to the problem of firearms management in Mexico. The trends in organized crime outlined in Felbab-Brown’s (2019) paper turn out especially important for building the narrative concerning the management of gun trafficking. Each piece of literature embraces the issues related to the problem of firearms in Mexico on a very specific time slot and focuses on the latest evidence, which allows scrutinizing new strategies and programs designed for curbing the levels of gun trafficking in Mexico. As a result, while one of the latest sources technically comes from a less reputable source, it does offer updated information on handling gun crime, the programs created for curbing it, and the factors that contribute to the aggravation of the issue including the influence of gangs.

Offering a comprehensive and detailed overview of the problem of gun trafficking in Mexico, the three articles in question shed light on the problem in a very direct and concise manner, at the same time providing enough detail to embrace the scope thereof. Each of the articles has its unique advantages, which range from the accuracy of data to the vast number of factors that the authors have managed to embrace to the extent of its analysis of the subject matter and the ability to provide reasonable solutions. Each of the three sources offers a unique perspective on the problem and the strategies used to manage it, which allows building a new framework for managing the problem of gun trafficking in Mexico. Representing a multilayered issue that is vastly affected by socio-cultural, economic, and legal issues, the phenomenon of gun trafficking in Mexico has a long history and, therefore, needs an innovative solution based on the outcomes of recent studies.


Felbab-Brown, V. (2019). Web.

Ford, J. T. (2009). Web.

Martinez, G. (2019). Web.

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"Firearms in Mexico: Reports and Their Reliability." IvyPanda, 8 June 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/firearms-in-mexico-reports-and-their-reliability/.

1. IvyPanda. "Firearms in Mexico: Reports and Their Reliability." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/firearms-in-mexico-reports-and-their-reliability/.


IvyPanda. "Firearms in Mexico: Reports and Their Reliability." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/firearms-in-mexico-reports-and-their-reliability/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Firearms in Mexico: Reports and Their Reliability." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/firearms-in-mexico-reports-and-their-reliability/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Firearms in Mexico: Reports and Their Reliability'. 8 June.

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