March 24, 2021

Durbin, Meeks Statement on GAO Report on U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico

GAO report found that trafficking of U.S.-sourced firearms into Mexico is a “national security threat;” about 70% of crime guns seized in Mexico & traced through ATF’s crime gun tracing program had originated in the U.S.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released the following statements after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an update of its January 2016 report on efforts to combat firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico.  Today’s report found that trafficking of U.S.-sourced firearms into Mexico is a “national security threat.”  The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) found that about 70 percent of crime guns seized in Mexico and traced through ATF’s crime gun tracing program had originated in the United States—the same amount that was reported in the study from 2016.  Today’s report was requested by Durbin and Meeks.

“The Trump Administration talked tough about the U.S.-Mexico border for four years, but they did far too little to address this ‘iron river’ of guns flowing south,” Durbin said.  “I asked GAO to update its analysis of firearms trafficking to help inform Congress’ efforts to address this challenge.  And clearly there is much work to be done to stop the flow of weapons and laundered drug money out of this country and in to Mexico.  The time to act is now.”

“Firearms trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico has spiraled out of control,” said Meeks. “Today’s GAO update confirms that we in Congress must move quickly to crack down on the illegal trafficking of American-made firearms through our southern border. Neither Mexico nor the United States can solve these challenges alone and I look forward to continue working on these issues with Senator Durbin and our partners in Mexico.”

Full text of Durbin’s 2019 request letter is available here.  He also requested an update from the GAO on efforts to combat firearms trafficking from the United States to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, which has yet to be released.

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