Mexico’s Gun Control Laws: A Model for the United States?

69 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2010 Last revised: 15 Apr 2014

See all articles by David B. Kopel

David B. Kopel

University of Wyoming College of Law - Firearms Research Center; Independence Institute; Cato Institute; Denver University - Sturm College of Law

Date Written: February 11, 2014


This article explicates Mexico’s constitutional right to arms and Mexico’s main gun-control statute, the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives (Ley Federal de Armas de Fuego y Explosivos). Along the way, the article notes various proposals to move U.S. gun laws in a Mexican direction.

Part II of this article is an English translation of the Mexican constitution’s guarantee of the right to arms, as well as predecessor versions of the guarantee.

Part III explains the operation of Mexico’s gun-control system and provides some historical and statistical information about gun ownership and gun smuggling in Mexico.

Part IV describes some of the past and present cross-border trade in arms between the United States and Mexico and potential legal ramifications.

The Appendix provides a translation of the Mexican federal government’s current gun-control statute. The Appendix also offers some explanatory footnotes to the statute when appropriate for better understanding.

Keywords: Mexico, gun control

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Kopel, David B., Mexico’s Gun Control Laws: A Model for the United States? (February 11, 2014). Texas Review of Law & Politics, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2013, U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-12, Available at SSRN: or

David B. Kopel (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming College of Law - Firearms Research Center ( email )

United States


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Cato Institute ( email )

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Denver University - Sturm College of Law ( email )

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Denver, CO 80208
United States


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