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What is the level of household gun ownership in urban Mexico? An estimate from the first Mexican survey on gun ownership 2017
  1. David Perez Esparza1,
  2. David Hemenway2
  1. 1 Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College London (UCL), London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to David Perez Esparza, Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College London (UCL), London WC1E 6BT, UK; d.perez.esparza.13{at}


Gun violence has increased in Mexico since the mid-2000s, but little is known about patterns of gun ownership. We examine the size and composition of the privately held urban firearm stock in Mexico, motivations for ownership, and attitudes about gun laws. To this end, a household telephone survey of 1361 adults living in nine Mexican cities was conducted in the summer of 2017. We find that few urban Mexican households contain guns. Most of those who report ownership possess one gun, having purchased it recently for self-defense. Few urban Mexican citizens plan to purchase a gun in the future. Respondents are more likely to believe that crime in Mexico would increase if guns were allowed in more places (ie, workplaces and motor vehicles). Evidence suggests urban Mexico has relative low rates of firearm ownership. Few city dwellers plan on obtaining a firearm in the near future.

  • firearm
  • policy
  • risk factor research
  • surveys
  • public health
  • safe community

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  • Contributors Both authors participate in the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data for the work.

  • Funding Partial funding for this research was obtained from Estadística Aplicada and from Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Additional data will be available at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center website.