Mexico Self Defense Lawsgeorge
In 2017, the state of Nuevo Leon approved a reform to allow for better protection of individuals in self-defense. Previously, citizens ignored applicable laws when acting in self-defense, so this new initiative eases restrictions, so typical actions of civilians in their own defense are now legal. Among the new lax restrictions are provisions that allow citizens to defend themselves in a house that does not belong to them, if they are responsible for it – say, for example, that it is their grandmother`s house – or if they have property or property in an apartment that they are legally obliged to defend. It was not the work of a drug cartel. The men were members of a self-defense group, a growing number of militiamen aiming to restore order to Mexican communities. „We have besieged the community,“ a spokesman for the group said, „because criminals operate here with impunity in broad daylight.“ A better approach would be to contact the community`s self-defense forces and create positive relationships between them and the local or federal police. In fact, such agreements are not uncommon. Since 1995, more than 80 villages in Guerrero have managed their own police and justice systems that follow traditional indigenous practices, as part of the government-sponsored Regional Community Authorities Coordinator program. The programme has created units of armed villagers who conduct routine patrols and hand suspects over to municipal assemblies. The state government gives them a bit of training, simple T-shirt uniforms, and the power to resolve certain types of disputes.
In other communities, prisoners were beaten, forced to work or even lynched. Members of these fuerzas autodefensas (self-defense forces) say they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands: criminals and gangs are more brazen and violent than ever, and the police and government are either absent, corrupt, or in collaboration with the criminals themselves. This change means that if a thief or other offender breaks into your home, the concept of „legal defense“ is now in play. Many U.S. expats believe it is illegal for citizens or residents of Mexico to own firearms, but this is not the case. It`s true that gun laws in Mexico are much stricter than U.S. gun laws, but that doesn`t mean they`re prohibited — neither for citizens nor for residents. The Ley Federal de Armas de Fuego y Explosivos is the federal law that describes the restrictions, rights and specific conditions of private possession of firearms in Mexico. *WeExpats relied on several sources to write this article. If you`d like to learn more about Mexico`s gun laws from one of our favorite expat sources, click here. Until the recent unanimous amendment of the Mexican Senate in October, a burglar had the same kind of right to self-defense as the owner of the house, just as if he had been involved in a street fight or a fight in a bar – even if the altercation had taken place at the victim`s home.
Nevertheless, it would be wrong to completely reject the usefulness of such groups, especially in times of civil war. A growing body of research suggests that when states are unable or unwilling to provide security, local vigilante groups can be an imperfect but effective alternative. These forces are much cheaper and quicker to assemble than official police and army units, and they can quickly muster large numbers of men to secure isolated communities. While outside forces take years to learn the geography and people of an area, local vigilante groups start with one leg. Because these groups are motivated to protect their families and communities, they tend to be less predatory and have higher morale than state security forces. In places as diverse as Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, these groups are often held in check by community leaders and remain largely dependent on their neighbours for information and material support. Finally, if the state works with vigilante groups, it can use these connections to reach isolated communities and provide them with public services. Modern examples of the Mexican view of militias are the Chiapas conflict against the EZLN and against the EPR in Guerrero, where government forces fought militias that had been raised. And in a more recent case, when civilian self-defense militias emerged during Mexico`s war on drugs, the government regulated them and turned the militias into rural federal troops, and those who resisted were fought and imprisoned.  For home defence, the government will authorize the sale and registration of a handgun of legally authorized types and calibres.
 You may think that the gun laws in Mexico are reasonable and pragmatic, or you may find these restrictions presumptuous compared to the laws of the United States, but this article was not intended to spark debate, but only to inform American expats about current self-defense and firearms laws in Mexico and licensing requirements. Likewise, it is possible for Mexican citizens residing in Mexico and foreign legal residents of Mexico (FM2 holders) to import a firearm into Mexico for their safety and self-defense, among the types and calibers authorized for the defense of the homeland, and after obtaining the appropriate import permit from the Secretariat of National Defense. If you want to import a firearm into Mexico, you must be able to legally acquire the firearm outside the country. For example, a U.S. citizen who legally resides in Mexico as an FM2 holder or who holds dual citizenship could purchase a firearm in the United States and request permission to import the gun into Mexico. Persons authorized to legally purchase a firearm in the United States and residing in Mexico may import the firearm. According to this clause, citizens have the right to keep firearms of the type and calibre authorized by law for their safety and defence only in their homes. Each weapon must be registered with the federal government. Although federal law does not set a limit, in legal practice, citizens are only allowed to keep a total of 10 registered firearms (nine long guns, one handgun) per household. Mexico`s Firearms and Explosives Law allows citizens to keep firearms and firearms in their homes for their defense and safety. However, they must register their weapons with the Secretariat of National Defence. The motivations of these vigilante groups vary from city to city, as do their relationships with local governments and police.
The majority seem to rely on local outrage at rising crime and violence in their communities. For others, the impetus is less clear. Some may represent cases of political expediency. A local self-defense force in a small town in Oaxaca was disbanded after 48 hours after the state government agreed to improve public services and police oversight. In other cases, the groups exploited the political vacuum to promote illegal interests and even served as fronts for local gangs or trafficking networks. Familia Michoacana, for example, first claimed that its mission was to fight Zetas and other drug cartels – then became a drug cartel itself. These groups are often made up of well-meaning citizens, ignorant pawns in a criminal network`s plan to obstruct a rival. Local extrajudicial self-defense groups have long been common in rural Mexico, particularly in indigenous communities in the south.