A report released by the Collective Security Analysis for Democracy stated that there were 2.8 million unregistered firearms in Central America, and an additional 15 million unregistered guns in Mexico.
According to the study, the majority of these guns are used by organized crime gangs and drug trafficking cartels to carry out their illicit activities.
The Central America Region has the world’s highest gun-homicide rate, with 41 people being killed by guns per 10,000 people.
According to government statistics, Honduras has a gun-homicide rate of 85.5 people per 10,000, followed by El Salvador with 69.2 homicides, Guatemala with 38.5, Mexico with 22.7, Panama with 18, and Costa Rica with 11.3 gun-related homicides.
The World Health Organization states that 5 homicides per 10,000 is considered normal, with over 10 homicides per 10,000 being an “epidemic”.
The unregistered guns in the region comes from four main sources. The first source is through straw buyers who purchase firearms on behalf of the drug cartels. The second source is by purchasing guns from corrupt military soldiers in Guatemala and Honduras. The third source is finding left over supplies from the civil wars that took place in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s. And the last source of unregistered firearms is through the crafting of home-made weapons known as chimbas. The guns are handcrafted and uses a welded pipe and can fire a single shotgun cartridge.
Source: Sergio Ramos, “Weapons trafficking increases in Central America, Mexico,” Infosurhoy, May 30, 2013.