Mexico Essentials

Mexico’s Strict Gun Laws

Warning Sign at Mexican Border: No Guns Allowed

Mexico’s gun laws are similar to those in countries like the United Kingdom that do not tolerate possession of certain lethal firearms. This is in stark contrast to the laws of the United States, whose constitution allows citizens to generally own and carry firearms on their person.

Foreigners visiting Mexico must be particularly careful with this, as Mexican laws on importation and possession of firearms and/or ammunition are strictly enforced at border crossings and on spot-checks, for example, at vehicle checkpoints on major highway routes through the country.

The Mexican constitution allows for legal possession of one small-caliber firearm with several important caveats: the owner must be a Mexican citizen, or a foreigner with legal residency status; the firearm must be of small caliber as specifically cited by the regulations; it must be registered with the army and; critically, the firearm is not to be carried in the street. The purpose of the law is to provide for self-defense within the confine of one’s own home.

Hunters who wish to travel to Mexico with their hunting rifle(s), must apply for a special import permit and carry-license from a Mexican Consulate before traveling to Mexico. The procedures are so involved that most hunters only travel on hunting trips organized under the auspice of local hunter groups/associations, who apply for permits on behalf of their registered members.

Non-explosive arms like air rifles may be imported without any special permits; as may accessories for air rifles (e.g. pellets). However, gas-propelled rifles and pistols (and their constituent parts and accessories), any firearm, and all equipment related to firearms—ammunition (regardless of caliber), sights, constituent parts or accessories, etc.—all require an import permit.  Note also that night-vision sight equipment, pepper spray, and taser guns are on the restricted items list, and will also require a permit to import.  This quick reference guide, published by the Mexican SAT (Revenue and Customs), contains the detail.

You can find a complete guide to Mexico Entry Requirements here on Mexperience, including a summary of customs allowances.

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.