Monday, November 19, 2012

México: Celebratory Gunfire for Special Events Poses Considerable Risk to People

Authorities in the Mexico City district of Iztapalapa de Cuitláhuac has announced that henceforth they will prohibit all residents from engaging in celebratory gunfire into the air during local festivals, weddings and other celebrations, after a child in a movie theater was shot and killed on November 2, when a discharged bullet dropped through the ceiling of the theater.

Iztapalapa public safety coordinator Carlos Candelaria López told local media that authorities will meet with the representatives of various neighborhood groups to explain that the use of firearms will not be permitted at the festivals held in the district, which has some 2 million residents.

COMMENT: Although festivities and celebrations are common worldwide, the practice of discharging functional firearms are not. 

Unfortunately, shooting live ammunition into the air is a relatively new practice in contemporary México, particularly in developing nations where local ordinances have not kept pace with cultural mores. 

That being said, most developed nations prohibit the celebratory discharging of firearms, given the inherent risk to citizens.

Although Iztapalapa is one of only sixteen boroughs in the Federal District of Mexico City (DF), visitors, expats and residents alike must realize that it is ONLY Iztapalapa that has taken a zero-tolerance approach in recent weeks to the discharging of firearms in the borough.

Unfortunately, there are other reasons to control the discharging of firearms in the borough. Iztapalapa 
has one of the highest rates of forcible rape, violence against women and domestic violence in Mexico City. It also has one of the highest rates of muggings and robberies of taxi drivers and public buses. 

Most of the crime problems are concentrated into a group of neighborhoods such as Santa Martha Acatitla Norte, Desarrollo Urbano Quetzalcoatl, Tenorios, La Polvorilla, Santa Cruz Meyehualco, San Miguel Teotongo, Xalpa, Lomas Estrella, Lonas de Zaragoza and Achualtepec.

Clearly, it is not enough to brief communities. On a global level, all jurisdictions should enact ordinances and statutes prohibiting the discharging of live ammunition from firearms to celebrate special events, holidays, weddings, etc.