Thompson, Goldman, Castro Introduce Bill to Disarm Cartels by Stopping Trafficking of American Guns across Southern Border

Press Release


Washington – Today, House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) joined Rep. Dan Goldman (NY-10) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20) to introduce the ‘Disarming Cartels Act’ to curtail the trafficking of U.S.-made firearms and ammunition south-bound over the U.S.-Mexico border. Guns originating in the United States power human- and drug-trafficking efforts and other illicit activities by cartels and other transnational criminal organizations in Mexico and beyond. The ‘Disarming Cartels Act’ has also been co-sponsored by Representatives Dina Titus (NV-01), Danny Davis (IL-07), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL).

“Firearms purchased in the United States are being illegally trafficked to Mexico, arming the cartels and fueling the fentanyl epidemic,” said Thompson. “Going after the bad actors that facilitate the exchange of guns for fentanyl will help us crack down on illegal drug trade while preventing firearms from getting into the hands of cartels and other criminal organizations. The Disarming Cartels Act will help us secure our border, reduce the flow of fentanyl in our country, and disrupt the illegal flow of firearms into Mexico. As Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I’m proud to support this important bill with Reps. Goldman, Castro, Titus, Danny Davis, and Eleanor Holmes Norton.”

“Democrats and Republicans alike recognize the devastating threat posed by the fentanyl trade and human smuggling and trafficking, all of which are predominantly controlled by Mexican drug cartels at our southern border,” Congressman Dan Goldman said. “But Republicans simply ignore that the source of the cartels’ power is the hundreds of thousands of American-manufactured weapons of war that flow out of the United States and into the hands of the cartels. If we want to address crime across our southern border, then we must address the exportation of American guns across the border. The Disarming Cartels Act will do just that.” 

“For years, American guns have fueled violence, instability, and forced migration across the Western Hemisphere,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “The United States can – and must – do more to stop the weapons we manufacture from landing in the hands of criminal organizations that smuggle fentanyl and other deadly drugs to the United States. The Disarming Cartels Act will disrupt cross-border trafficking through greater interagency collaboration at home and enhanced coordination with our partners in Mexico – protecting innocent people on both sides of the border.”

Mexico has one gun store in the entire country and restrictive firearm regulations. Yet, on an annual basis, there are nearly 30,000 annual firearm deaths in Mexico.  
More than 500,000 American-made guns are trafficked to Mexico every year, and seventy percent of firearms recovered from crime scenes in Mexico can be traced to the United States. Criminal organizations operating in Mexico purchase firearms and ammunition from U.S.-based retailers to target law enforcement and military personnel, harm citizens, and enforce cartel control of territory.

To disrupt the trafficking of U.S.-sourced firearms into Mexico, the ‘Disarming Cartels Act’ directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to: 
    •    Increase interagency collaboration to identify, target, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations responsible for exporting firearms and related munitions from the United States to Mexico. 
    •    Instruct Homeland Security Investigations within U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement to establish a mechanism for sharing aggregated information about interdictions of southbound firearms and U.S.-sourced firearms in Mexico with Federal partners. 
    •    Expand the collection and analysis of information concerning firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico to identify U.S.-based gun traffickers. 
    •    Enhance coordination with Mexican agencies to increase outbound inspections by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the southwest land border. 
    •    Establish performance measures for efforts to disrupt the smuggling of U.S.-sourced firearms to Mexico. 
    •    Require the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide annual reports on the Department’s actions to disrupt the smuggling of U.S.-sourced firearms and munition to Mexico. 

Transnational criminal organizations are known to exchange drugs like fentanyl to U.S. buyers for firearms. Cartels have orchestrated sophisticated attacks on Mexican security forces, with increasing use of .50 caliber rifles, modified fully automatic rifles, and belt-fed machine guns to counter Mexican security forces.  Mexico has one gun store in the entire country and restrictive firearm regulations. Yet, on an annual basis, there are nearly 30,000 annual firearm deaths in Mexico. 
The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force is committed to protecting communities across the country from the dangers of gun violence. In October, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force condemned the Republican failure to respond to the gun violence epidemic and sent a letter urging Speaker Johnson to use his new authority to bring bipartisan, commonsense gun safety legislation to the floor for a vote.