Mexico is one of three countries in the world whose constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms: United States, Mexico and Guatemala. This constitutional right is rendered all but meaningless by a host of government restrictions on it – the warm wet dreams of anti-2nd Amendment advocates.
Like all limitations on civilian firearm ownership, Mexico’s restrictions were brought in with the very best of intentions – to keep citizens safe. Those restrictions, combined with powerful drug cartels and corrupt government officials, turned the Latin American nation into a war zone where only violent drug cartels, the police and military own anything larger than a .380 calibre pistol.
Article 10 of the 1857 Mexican Constitution guaranteed that “every man has the right to keep and to carry arms for his security and legitimate defense.” But 60 years later in 1917, lawmakers amended it following Mexico’s bloody revolution.
During the rewriting of the constitution, the government placed more severe restrictions on the right to buy guns. The law precluded citizens from buying firearms “reserved for use by the military” and forbid them from carrying “arms within inhabited places without complying with police regulations.”
There is a single gun store in the entire nation for Mexican citizens to purchase a firearm legally: The Directorate of Commercialization of Arms and Munitions (Dirección de Comercialización de Armamento y Municiones – DCAM). It’s located on a heavily-armed military base outside of Mexico City and run by the army.
The Arms and Ammunition Marketing Directorate, dependent on the General Directorate of Military Industry, is the unit in charge of carrying out the commercialization of firearms, ammunition and other objects regulated by the federal law on firearms and explosives, in attention of public and private security bodies, hunting clubs and individuals who meet the requirements established in the applicable laws and regulations.
DCAM sells, on average, 38 firearms per day to civilians.
In contrast, approximately 580 guns per day are, on average, smuggled into Mexico from the United States (approximately 75%, often via US Government-sanctioned operations), Guatemala and Vietnam. As a result, black market firearms are readily available to those wishing to obtain one.
Private Gun Ownership
Self-protection is a legitimate reason for owning a handgun in Mexico but one that comes with a host of restrictions. Once you jump through all the legal requirements to purchase a handgun, you may only buy a single firearm and it must be .22 to .380 calibre. It is illegal to own a handgun in a calibre larger than this.
All legally-owned firearms must be registered with the Army.
All legally-owned handguns must be kept in your home, with a maximum of one handgun per household. If you remove the handgun from your home and are caught, you are subject to a lengthy prison term.
Carry permits are reserved for politically well-connected citizens, police, army and navy personnel. Carry permits are issued to those individuals who:
- are mentally and physically capable
- provide proof of employment
- served in the military
- do not have a criminal record
- do not use illegal drugs
- demonstrate a need to carry a firearm (their life is threatened, etc.)
Carry permits for mere citizens must be renewed every two years. Carry permits for government officials are valid as long as they hold the position requiring them to obtain a permit.
Hunters and target shooters may own a maximum of 9 rifles and/or shotguns per household. Businesses are not permitted to keep a firearm on the premises unless the business is also their residence.
While buying and selling firearms among mere citizens is permitted, the sale and transfer must be authorized by the Secretariat of National Defense and both buyer and seller must appear, in person, with the firearm to process the transaction.
The Process To Legally Purchase a Firearm in Mexico
Private citizens wishing to acquire a firearm and ammunition are required by law to do the following:
- Apply for a firearm acquisition permit from the General Directorate of the Federal Firearms Registry and Explosives Control (DGRFAFyCE) in the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) either by mail or in person by submitting the following:
- (for Mexican citizens, males under 40) Copy of liberated National Military Service card; (for females or males over 40) certified birth certificate. Foreigners must provide documentation establishing legal presence (FM2 card),
- Proof of income by submitting original employment letter stating position, time of employment and salary. If self-employed or retired, proof of such status,
- Criminal background check showing no convictions, issued by the state’s Attorney General where applicant resides (dated no older than six months),
- Copy of proof of address (any utility bill in name of applicant; if different, head of household must sign a letter authorizing firearms and ammunition in the home),
- Copy of government-issued photo identification (Voter ID Card if Mexican citizen, passport and FM2 card if foreign citizen),
- If weapons are requested for shooting or hunting, must submit copy of hunting and/or shooting club membership card, indicating day, month and year of the beginning and end of validation,
- Copy of birth certificate. Name(s) and last names must match all other documents, and
- Copy of the Unique Key of Population Registry (Clave Única de Registro de Población – CURP) Analogous to US social security card and number.
- Upon being granted the firearm acquisition permit, fill out form and make payment of MX$95.00 (US$7.60) for Permit to Purchase Firearm, Accessories and/or Ammunition,
- Fill out form and make payment of MX$39.00 (US$3.12) for Registration of Firearm (one form and payment per gun),
- Contact the Directorate of Commercialization of Arms and Munitions (DCAM) by internet or in person to make payment of firearm.
- With all receipts and documentation, along with photo ID, appear in person at DCAM to pick up firearm. A temporary transportation permit (valid for 24 to 72hrs) is granted, which permits the owner to transport the firearm from DCAM to his or her home by personal or public transportation (ground or air).