The biggest problem that the country of Mexico is experiencing in recent years is, of course, the presence of massive amounts of violent crime. The cartels are responsible for much of this, including the deaths of tens-of-thousands of innocents, but the country has more common crime from less connected criminals as well. There is already a war being waged to reduce the power of the cartels and return control of the country to the proper government, but now they’re also looking at getting rid of some of the other violence by initiated a gun swap.
Starting at the end of last year, the government began offering to exchange people’s guns for items such as bikes, computers and cash. In that time, they managed to collect more than 1000 guns, including (believe it or not) a grenade launcher and several grenades. The first run was so successful that they’ve extended the program for another week in hopes of getting even more guns off the streets. In addition to collecting guns, they’ve also offered to trade out children’s violent toys for new ones in hopes of steering them away from a future life of crime.
The program started in a district of Mexico City known for having the most violent crimes. Since then, the extension has relocated the collection to yet another problem district. If it continues to be as successful as it has been, it may be that they opt to extend the program further and perhaps even to other regions of country beside the capital.
While the collection of random guns may not stop the cartels, which rely on their guns for business and can certainly afford their own bikes and computers, it does potentially free up more law enforcement. Any reduction in violent crime is a good thing for Mexico right now. With their high body count due to cartel activity, every life saved is truly important to them in showing the world that they are not going to sit back and accept the conditions that have plagued their country for the last decades.