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Stop Arms from U.S. to Mexico

John Lindsay-Poland
On Conflict (January 2023)

Dear Friends: On Monday [12/5/2022], I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for refusing to release data on crime guns traced from Mexico and Central America back to purchases in the United States, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted last year.

The ATF is withholding crucial information from the public that will facilitate understanding of trafficking routes and impacts of firearms legislation, which are critical for violence-prevention polcies and strategies in the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

With the support of Global Exchange, I am working with activists to build a movement and awareness in many circles. In October, I testified before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission about the firearms trade to Mexico, and last month spoke at an international conference on “The Business of Lethality,” organized by Mexico’s foreign ministry and the Colegio de México.

At the same time, we have obtained access to a cache of four million emails from the server of the Mexican army, from the hacker activist group Guacamaya. The material includes detailed data and reports never before disclosed on weapons imports and firearms trafficking, such as a list of more than 22,000 firearms traced to the United States in 2019 and 2020. We are working with other researchers and journalists to develop a system for navigating this enormous amount of data.

In February, we are bringing together a dozen amazing campaigners from five countries where firearms flow to Mexico. This delegation will highlight the problems of the weapons trade, connect with victims and human rights defenders, and develop collaborative strategies with Mexican activists. We’ll participate in the Peace Summit that we’ve been building for months with forums in both Mexico and the U.S. The Summit will launch a policy platform against gun violence in both countries in advance of presidential elections in both countries in 2024.

To follow this work as it develops, visit: https://stopusarmstomexico.org/

– John Lindsay-Poland, American Friends Service Committee

US-Mexico Border arms trafficking

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