How to get guns into Mexico-do not need answer fast

As I posted in another thread, my husband and I are considering retiring somewhere in Latin America. How would he take his guns with him?

From Wiki.

Time to begin researching the various Latin American countries and their gun laws. If you do a Google search, do not click on the first link as it’s a redirect/spam/virus site. If you have to ask how I know, best you do your own search.

In the case of Mexico as the residents or citizens that you would eventually become, you would have a one time chance to ship all your stuff down duty free including guns, cars, etc. It would be handled through a Mexican consulate and I would certainly make sure you have all your papers stamped in triplicate before you did. It’s probably not worth the hassles because you would presumably also be limited to only those same guns that Mexican citizens are allowed to own, which you would be able to buy there inexpensively anyway. There are no (legal) gun stores in Mexico. Citizens and immigrant residents have the right to own certain arms but they can only be purchased from the government and they set limits on caliber, number of shots, etc. There’s a national program that handles the sale of arms and ammunition to qualified people and buys back guns from the public “no questions asked”. The federal law covering most of this can be found here: (Note: PDF document and in Spanish.)

You would probably need to talk to a Mexican consulate to determine which if any of your own guns you would be able to bring. Your gun collection might be a veritable arsenal compared to what is legal in Mexico. (something like no higher caliber than .380 pistols, single-shot .22 and .30 caliber rifles and in the case of people who live in remote areas outside of urban zones just slightly higher limits and shotguns.)

Seeing as how the cartels are shipping American arms into Mexico by the gross, I’m sure if you know the right people, you can get them in pretty easily. :wink:

But if you intend on going through a legal border crossing and don’t have friends in high places, make sure to have all your ducks in a row, because the authorities there don’t mess around when it comes to firearms. I’ve heard of people detained for having a stray shell laying on the floor of their car. And this isn’t the type of offense you’ll be able to get out of by slipping a few bucks to some low level federale either.

send 'em with the lawyers and the money.

Apologies to Warren Zevon (RIP)

By mule through the mountains.

Only applies in Honduras.

Thanks everyone - I’ll try to let my husband down easy!

Well, there’s a army gun store in Mexico. That’s it. Sales between private individuals are still legal. The Mexican Constitution guarantees the right to gun ownership, but also states that the government can oppose limits. I think anything under a .45 is legal.

Ownership is limited to within your household, and secure transportation to gun clubs. This isn’t so much different than here in Michigan. Securing the right to carry is also possible, but very much more difficult. As a non-citizen, there’s no way to get that. On the other hand, Mexico recognizes dual nationality (as does the USA), and so in five years, you can become Mexican nationals. Citizenship is defined as a national in good standing, but even so, it’s still hard for citizens to get carry permits.

Rifles – as opposed to hand guns – are much easier. Hunting is a huge tourist draw in northern Mexico, and with the right paperwork, it’s just as easy as bringing firearms into Mexico as it is into Canada.

Arms sales between private individuals are not allowed under federal law. Cite is in my post earlier in the thread. “Artículo 53.- La compra-venta, donación o permuta de armas, municiones y explosivos entre particulares requerirá permiso extraordinario.” “Article 53. - The buying/selling, donation, or exchange of arms, ammunition and explosives between individuals requires extraordinary permission.” The national program that sells guns to qualified people also buys back any and all guns from the general public, at a set price schedule regardless of condition, and with no questions asked or haggling. This is because reselling them to the public is expressly forbidden and there needs to be some way for people to resell the guns they bought from the government if they want or need to.

It’s still not all that easy and it still involves a consulate visit and permits, but the OP was asking about moving to Mexico not getting a short term permit under a limited-time tourist visa.

So, yeah, it is legal. Maybe not like gun-shows-in-the-USA-legal, but legal is legal. A good family friend is a collector and competitive shooter. He’s a private individual. The selection at UCAM is strictly limited. His only other options are private (legal) trade between individuals.

I guess easy is a matter of perspective. For example, getting my visa by going to the Mexican Consulate seemed easy enough to me. Not like crossing-the-border-into-Canada easy, but c’mon, these folks are moving there.

The situation with private gun ownership is likewise pretty restrictive in most of the other countries in Central America.

As with most things in Latin America, enforcement can be lax *after *you’ve smuggled your weapons across the well-inspected border. You could own them for years without issue. Until you have need to use them and the cops become aware of their presence. Then you’ll have a heapin’ helpin’ o trouble.

The idea that owning guns is something a law abiding citizen ought to be allowed to do is foreign to many countries legal & politcal traditions.

As an example, I was able to get a handgun permit in Panama. I was limited in how much ammo I could own and getting it registered included giving the cops my weapon for a week along with some ammo they could fire & retain for later ballistic comparisons if they ever suspected the gun was involved in a crime.

Apparently a sizeable fraction of guns turned in for registration simply disappeared. “Senor, we have no record of any such weapon being turned in for registration. And how did you get this alleged gun into the country? May I see your customs permit?”
ETA: Yes, I know I left off accents & tildes in the Spanish. That’s easier than fussing with the non-US characters I rarely use anymore.