It is no secret that the majority of illegal firearms that cross into Mexico are sold by gun shops located in US states that border Mexico. In fact, according to reports from the Woodrow Wilson Center, the gun shops that supply weapons to illegal brokers are mostly located in Texas and Arizona. The supply of weapons from Californian gun shops, however, has decreased significantly since 2008. An important question is how is this happening?
An answer to this question may lie on the Brady Campaign Scorecard, a measure which rates states on laws which prevent gun violence. While, on a scale 1 to 100, Arizona and Texas obtained “0” and “8” respectively, California was given an “81,” by far the highest in the country. The first states fall on the zero star category while California falls under the four star category. Zero star category states have few or no gun laws which, according to the Brady Campaign Score Card, indicates that these states allow the sale of guns without background checks on gun shows, have an increased risk of children being victims of gun violence, and, collectively, help feed the illegal gun market at a rate which is 9 times as high compared to states with the strongest gun laws. Conversely, four star category states have the strongest gun laws to combat gun trafficking and prevent sales without a background check.
California was given such a high score because it has regulations such as universal background checks on all types of firearms and it has its own assault weapons ban, which means semiautomatic firearms such as the AR-15 type rifle are not commercially manufactured in state. Additionally, California has a limit on the amount of bulk purchasing since it only allows for once a month purchases. This is not the case in Arizona and Texas, these states do not have a restriction of the production of semiautomatic firearms, no limit on the number of purchases made a month and no background checks on gun shows.
Furthermore, it is possible that the fact that Baja California (a state just south of California) is the only northern border state in Mexico that decreased the percentage of executions between 2008 and 2011 is not a coincidence. Other states like Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon (south of Texas) have increased their executions rates by more than 1000% between 2008 and 2011. It is possible that there may other factors that have affected the overall level of executions, but from a firearms perspective, strict regulations in California has had a positive impact on its southern neighbor, making it an important ally for the Mexican Government while lax regulations in Texas and Arizona may have a continue to act as allies for those who demand weapons in Mexico´s northern states, namely the drug trafficking organizations who continue to engage in violent acts using, based on weapons traced at crime scenes, weapons that originated from the United States.