US-Made Firearms Fueling Central American Violence, Investigation Reveals
The demand for drugs in the United States isn’t the only issue that has fueled the violence attributed to transnational crime in Central America. In recent years, guns made in the United States have been trafficked into nearby countries by criminal enterprises. According to an investigation by US media outlet, Bloomberg, the sales of US-made semi-automatic firearms to Guatemala are more than five times higher than in the 2010s. The issue is linked to the US Government’s decision in 2020, which took the licensing process for gun exports away from the State Department and gave it to the Commerce Department. Deputy Assistant Security of Defense for the Western Hemisphere Affairs, Dan Erikson was asked if the US is aware of the concern, but he did not provide a clear-cut answer.
Dan Erickson, Deputy Assistant, Security of Defense for the Western Hemisphere Affairs: “We’re very concerned about gun violence in the region and illegal weapons trafficking. A lot of this is managed beyond the scope of the Department of Defense per se because it has to do, as you indicated in your question, with other agencies of the U.S. government. There was, as was alluded to by my colleague from the Vice President’s office, a very important meeting that took place earlier this year in the Bahamas with the representatives from the countries from across the Caribbean where this topic was addressed. I think we’d be happy to share with you the readout from that meeting so you have more information on it.”