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While guns trafficked into Mexico from U.S. stores and gun shows continue to be a blight on Mexico’s security landscape, the news about dozens of German assault rifles found near a major crime scene in Mexico last September highlight another way U.S. firearms could be fueling bloodshed in Mexico. If German firearms exported to Mexican states where corruption is rampant are fueling crime, to what extent are U.S.-government approved firearms exports to Mexico doing the same?

Under the Mérida Initiative, the United States can withhold 15% of its aid to Mexico that falls under its anti-narcotics (INCLE) and foreign military (FMF) programs if the Secretary of State reports that specific human rights conditions are not being met. The State Department’s own report shows that they are not. 

While U.S. firearms trafficked into Mexico have fueled bloodshed, it seems that German rifles are also reaching Mexico illegally and playing a destructive role. According to an official report, a German gun company has been illegally transferring thousands of G36 rifles to four prohibited states in Mexico.

Over the weekend, Mexico held mid-term political elections that will likely be remembered more for the related violence than the candidates’ platforms.

The Mexican Federal Police, Mexico’s primary public security institution, does not have a public manual on the use-of-force, meaning no current standards define when a member of the police can use force, including lethal, on another person. 

In December 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderon kicked off a new phase of the decades-long drug war when he sent thousands of federal soldiers and police into his home state of Michoacán to battle criminal groups operating in the region. This battle soon became a nationwide war that continues to this day.

Just last week, 42...

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