Last week, Mexico was shaken to the core when a 15 year old came to school with a gun and shot three classmates and a teacher, before turning the gun on himself. Unfortunately, school shootings are common on the United States side of the border. But the people of Monterrey, Mexico had never experienced something like this.
Mexico has strict gun laws. The Mexican Constitution only allows citizens to have certain firearms inside their homes, for hunting, for shooting sport or to carry with a license. A 2014 law review looking at Mexican gun laws found that about 14 percent of Mexican households have firearms, as opposed to gun ownership in America, which was 36 percent in June 2016.
But a few months ago Mexican Sen. Jorge Luis Preciado introduced a bill that would expand gun laws and reform the Mexican Constitution to allow possession of a firearm inside private cars and businesses.
“Gun ownership is a big taboo here in Mexico,” Fernandez De Castro says. “There’s no real gun culture. But what has happened is there’s a growing appetite to be able to possess a firearm because of the spike in crime, the growing perception of insecurity, just the government’s inability to protect its citizens.”
Fernandez De Castro says gun control advocates within the country are pointing to the recent school shooting as an example as to what could happen if the law passed.
“They’re going to say ‘Look, this is exactly what we warned you against. This is exactly what can happen if you loosen up strict gun laws,’” he says. “We’ve already seen what can happen in Mexico when citizens start arming themselves. In the case of the vigilante groups in states like Michoacán or Guerrero, these groups ended up becoming the very monsters they were created to fight.”
Written by Beth Cortez-Neavel.