A police officer holds a .45 pistol during a voluntary disarming program outside Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Mexico’s staggering tally of gun violence—2009 and 2010 combined for more than 20,000 firearm homicides—is largely a result of the country’s extremely lethal supporting role in America’s war on drugs. As long as a grossly lucrative, illegal industry is a prime driver of a country’s economy, the conventional wisdom goes, murder rates can be expected to be obscenely high.
So far, politicians south of the border have had no success in persuading the U.S. to alter its killer drug policy; so officials in Mexico City have taken an alternate route to cutting down gun deaths within the municipality.
The city recently held a gun trade-back event for one of its most impoverished, violence-prone neighborhoods. Lured by the offer of cash, bicycles and computer tablets, residents flocked to a “voluntary disarming program” outside Basilica de Guadalupe and exchanged firearms for swag.
Click through to see scenes from a voluntary personal disarmament party.
Photo: Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters