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Fact Sheet on Sig Sauer Arms Exports to Mexico

Fact Sheet on Sig Sauer Arms Exports to Mexico

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  • On March 25, 2015, the Department of State notified Congress of a Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) license agreement for Sig Sauer, Inc. to sell “the manufacture of Sig Sauer rifles and pistols and refurbishment of existing inventories” for the Mexican military and federal and state police forces, for a value of up to $266 million.[1]
  • The State Department clarified that only $1.1 million of the agreement is for services, technical data, and other materials; the remaining $265 million is for firearms.[2] At current retail values for pistols and rifles, the full execution of this agreement would mean the transfer of approximately 300,000 to 400,000 firearms – an enormous amount.
  • Licenses for DCS arms exports are normally valid for four years from the date of the agreement. In the case of the Sig Sauer, the agreement therefore would be valid until March 2019.
  • According to Mexico’s formal declaration for 2015 under the Arms Trade Treaty, Sig Sauer delivered 7,384 firearms to Mexico in 2015: 3,060 assault rifles; 505 machine guns; and 3,819 pistols.[3] Based on retail values of Sig Sauer firearms shown online, the value of this sale is approximately $7.1 million.
  • The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA, the Mexican Army) also acquired an unknown number of Sig Sauer pistols in 2008 – presumably from an earlier agreement – and in 2016.[4]
  • The United States exported $15.3 million to Mexico in firearms from all producers in 2016, in addition to nearly $20 million in firearm parts, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The U.S. exported on average $32.1 million annually in firearms and gun parts to Mexico in 2012-2016.[5]
  • Sig Sauer, Inc., with production facilities in Newington, New Hampshire, is incorporated in Delaware and affiliated with Sig Sauer in Germany. Its five-member board of directors includes two German nationals who live in Germany.[6]

Sig Sauer, Inc. and Trump Administration and Campaign

  • As Donald Trump prepared to launch his presidential campaign, he visited Sig Sauer headquarters in New Hampshire. His sons Eric and Donald Jr. and toured Sig Sauer in February 2016, and posed for photos with the Sig Sauer representatives at the Shot Show in Las Vegas in January 2016.[7]
  • In August 2016, Sig Sauer donated $100,000 to GunVote, a PAC that campaigned actively for the candidacy of Donald Trump.[8]
  • In January 2017, Sig Sauer contracted with Bob Grand, an associate of Vice-President Mike Pence, and his partner Craig Burkhardt to lobby for U.S. exports of firearms.[9]

What Groups in Mexico Use Sig Sauer Weapons?: End Use Controls

  • SEDENA is the entity in Mexico that receives all arms imports on behalf of federal, state, and local police forces, as well as for ministerial police and the Army itself.
  • From 2006 to 2016, SEDENA itself sold 12,541 Sig Sauer firearms (rifles and pistols) to police and private entities, for nearly $10 million, according to SEDENA. Nearly two third of these (8,099) were transferred to state and local police in 2014-2016, including in states with extensive charges of police collusion with organized crime, such as Chihuahua, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and Morelos. The states where police received the greatest number of Sig Sauer firearms since 2006 were Mexico State (2,319), Michoacán (2,005), Hidalgo (1,369), Querétaro (736), and Tamaulipas (508).[10]
  • Between 2007 and August 2015, SEDENA purchased and distributed 4,624 Sig Sauer pistols, including 2,832 pistols to state and local police forces. The remaining 1,792 pistols were re-sold by SEDENA to private security companies, to the Bank of Mexico, and to private individuals.[11]
  • According to the Department of State, it imposes no geographic restrictions on weapons that the United States exports to Mexico. The Department of State reviews arms export license applications, and may deny transactions outright based on credible reports of human rights violations by the end users of the weapons, although there is no indicate that it has done so. In addition, the arms export license does not contain within it an exclusion of Mexican police or military units as end users.[12]
  • U.S. officials conduct some inspections of weapons transferred to Mexican armed forces, known as Blue Lantern inquiries. Of 52 Blue Lantern checks on U.S.-transferred firearms in Mexico since 2010, Mexico failed (findings were “unfavorable”) 17 inquiries – nearly a third of them. The reasons include inaccurate inventories and non-responsiveness of weapons recipients.[13]
  • Firearms also arrive in Mexico illegally, especially through trafficking over the border from the United States. It was one such illegally-trafficked pistol used in the killing of Marisela Escobedo, the mother of a murdered young woman who was holding a protest vigil at the state government building in Chihuahua in 2010 when she was killed with a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol. The murderer reportedly admitted that he had killed 11 other people with the same weapon.[14]

Other Information

  • Other U.S. weapons producers also sell firearms to Mexican armed forces and police, though in much smaller quantities than the 2015 Sig Sauer agreement.[15]
    • Colt Defense was licensed to sell a thousand 5.56mm Carbine rifles for use by Mexican state forces in April 2015, for $3 million. 
    • Glock was licensed to sell 11,231 pistols (mostly 9mm) to the Mexican military for resale to other police and military entities in Mexico in February 2016.
    • US Ordnance, Inc. was licensed to sell a million dollars worth of grenade launchers and machine guns for use by the Mexican Navy in February 2016.
    • Trijicon, Inc. was licensed to sell 2,100 riflescopes to the Mexican Navy for $2.5 million in July 2016.
  • The United States has sold billions of dollars worth of military equipment and weaponry besides firearms since 2012, including Blackhawk and other types of aircraft and thousands of HUMVEEs armored vehicles.[16]
  • Other nations also sell firearms to the Mexican armed forces, including Italy, Israel, and Sig Sauer’s country of origin, Germany, which restricts arms exports to Mexico.

3 March 2017

This fact sheet was produced by the American Friends Service Committee. For more information, see afsc.org/stoparms, or contact John Lindsay-Poland at jlindsay-poland@afsc.org.

[1] Department of State, “FY 15-16 Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales Congressional Notifications for Mexico” September 2016, posted at: https://www.afsc.org/document/fy-2015-16-arms-sales-congressional-notifi...

[2] Assistant Secretary of State Julia Frifield, letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, 18 January 2017, posted at: https://www.afsc.org/document/state-department-response-to-senator-leahy...

[3] Mexico annual report on imports of conventional arms for calendar year 2015, posted at: http://thearmstradetreaty.org/images/Annual_Report_MX_31may2016.pdf.

[4] “Adquisición de Aeronaves, Armamento y Vehículos adquiridos por esta Secretaría de Estado en el periodo 2006-2016” at: http://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/175272/ADQS._DE_AERONAVES_...

[5] Data drawn from usatrade.census.gov/data.

[6] Sig Sauer, Inc. Annual Report 2016 to Secretary of State of New Hampshire, posted at: https://www.afsc.org/document/sig-sauer-annual-report-2016.

[7] Josh Harkinson, “Trump's Connection to the Maker of the Weapon Used in Orlando,” Mother Jones, 15 June 2016, at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/donald-trump-sig-sauer-gun-o....

[8] National Shooting Sports Foundation press release, 1 August 2016, at http://www.nssfblog.com/sig-sauer-furthers-nssf-gunvote-effort-with-1000...

[9] Isaac Arnsdorf, “Bob Grand signs Sig Sauer,” Politico, 26 January 2017, at http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/politico-influence/2017/01/bob-grand-s....

[10] SEDENA, 17 February 2017, response to information request, posted at: https://www.afsc.org/document/sedena-respuesta-17-febrero-2017

[11] Other states that received Sig Sauer pistols were: State of Mexico (1,572); Queretaro (237); Hidalgo (200); San Luis Potosi (123); Zacatecas (3); Sonora (44); and smaller numbers to Tlaxcala, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Nuevo Leon. SEDENA, 21 August 2015, response to information request. Posted at: https://www.afsc.org/document/sedena-respuesta-re-armas-sig-sauer-2015

[12] Frifield, op.cit.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Lucrative exports to the drug war,” (translation from German), taz.de, 14 December 2016, at: http://www.taz.de/!5365433/

[15] “FY 15-16 Foreign Military Sales,” op.cit.

[16] “What’s Behind Mexican Military’s Buying Binge?” Washington Post, 15 June 2015.

 

Created Date: 
Feb 8, 2017