Reduce trafficking of U.S. guns
Background: In Haiti, in the first eight months of 2023, more than 2,400 people were killed by gang violence. Many of the 270,000 illegal firearms in Haiti originated in Florida due to its weaker weapons sales' restrictions. In El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize, more than 40% of crime-related guns recovered originated in the U.S. For Mexico, it is 70%. The flow of U.S. weapons into the region is enabling tangible harm and violence, including deaths and disappearances, driving people to migrate to the U.S. and elsewhere.
The Americas Regional Monitoring of Arms Sales Act or ARMAS Act (H.R. 6618) would require the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce to create a detailed strategy to counter trafficking of U.S. guns and allow Congress to block certain small arms distributors. Improvements would also be made in data collection which would aid in identifying the end users of illegally trafficked weapons and crafting strategies to combat trafficking.
Another important policy change would be to return oversight of U.S. gun exports to the State Department. In 2020, oversight and authorization of firearm exports was shifted from the State Department to the Commerce Department. That shift resulted in a large increase of firearm export licenses and a loss of focus on issues of stability and security for both the U.S. and our neighbors.
Please encourage your representative to support the ARMAS Act and urge President Biden to shift oversight of U.S. gun exports back to the State Department!
Faith Reflection: “Act with justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place.” Jeremiah 22:3 (NRSV)
Action: Urge Congress and the Biden Administration to reduce the trafficking of U.S. guns in Latin America and the Caribbean
Photo above: Relatives of disappeared people in Mexico hold hands, forming a heart, during the December 2023 national gathering of the Movement of Our Disappeared, organized by MCC partner SERAPAZ. Photo courtesy of the Movement of Our Disappeared