Mexico's president called on U.S. officials to stop gun trafficking across the border Thursday, saying the move would be the best thing Americans could do to stop brutal drug violence.
Meanwhile, the US State Department broadened its travel warning on Mexico this week, saying that Americans should avoid all but essential travel to the country, CNN reported.
Rates of shootouts, kidnappings and carjackings by criminal gangs associated with the cartels, also known as transnational criminal organizations (TCO), have reportedly spiraled.
President Felipe Calderon, meantime, has unveiled a "No More Weapons!" billboard made with crushed firearms and placed near the US border, the Washington Post reported.
The Post wrote that the billboard, which is in English, was placed near a bridge in Ciudad Juarez, the border city across from El Paso, Texas, and can be seen from the US.
Juarez is widely considered Mexico's murder capital.
CNN, in a separate report, quoted Calderon as saying: "The criminals have become more and more vicious in their eagerness to spark fear and anxiety in society. One of the main factors that allows criminals to strengthen themselves is the unlimited access to high-powered weapons, which are sold freely, and also indiscriminately, in the United States of America."
Calderon has again asked US lawmakers to renew the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, which he said was directly connected to a dramatic increase in violence in Mexico.
Standing before the 3-ton sign in Juarez on Thursday, he reportedly said in English: "Dear friends of the United States, Mexico needs your help to stop this terrible violence that we’re suffering. The best way to do this is to stop the flow of automatic weapons into Mexico."
He added: "From here, from Ciudad Juarez, on the border of Mexico and the United States, we say, 'No more weapons. No more weapons to Mexico.'"