But there are no statistics widely available to show what percentage of Mexico’s violent crime is tied to the illegal drug trade.
While Mexican citizens have their own constitutional right to bear arms, Mexico City has only a single licensed gun shop and the nation’s military controls it, according to a 2009 National Public Radio broadcast.
In part because they lack legal avenues to purchase the weapons they are entitled to own, Mexicans have turned to a black market – including guns purchased in the U.S. and smuggled to the south.
Changes in the Mexican army, including a slow-down in Central American armed conflicts, have brought record numbers of military desertions, dumping countless guns into the private market. According to some news reports, at least 150,000 desertions were recorded between 2003 and 2009.