Gun laws don't work in Mexico

Washington Post:

These drug traffickers, with their steady supply of U.S. weaponry, are the target of President Bush's proposed $500 million U.S. aid package to help Mexico battle cartels. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF, hope that some of the money will be used to give Mexican police chiefs greater access to U.S. databases for gun traces. Currently, the traces can be made only through federal police headquarters in Mexico City. Many police chiefs do not even bother to make requests because of the inevitable bureaucratic delays.

Corrupt customs officials help smuggle weapons into Mexico, earning as much as $1 million for large shipments, police here say. The weapons are often bought legally at gun shows in Arizona and other border states where loopholes allow criminals to stock up without background checks.

The arms traffickers have left Mexico awash in AK-47s, pistols, telescope sighting devices, grenades, grenade launchers and high-powered ammunition, such as the so-called cop-killer bullets believed to be able to penetrate bulletproof vests.

"You're looking at the same firepower here on the border that our soldiers are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan," Thomas Mangan, a spokesman in Phoenix for the ATF, said in an interview.

Weapons have been smuggled into Mexico for decades. For instance, the .38 Special used in 1994 to assassinate presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio here in Tijuana was traced to a gun sale in Arizona. Mexico is a rich market for smugglers because it bans high-caliber automatic weapons -- even police are prohibited from using them -- and has strict gun laws that make it extremely difficult for members of the public to buy handguns.


While the theme of this story is the typical anti gun liberal spiel, the guns are a third tier problem in Mexico. You have to start with the fact that the illegal drug trade has been allowed to flourish because of corruption at the local and national level. This is compounded by corruption in Mexico's customs operations which allows the guns to enter into Mexico to begin with.

Without that corruption, the purchases in the US would be of no significance. Then you get to see how silly the anti gun laws are because people who are already violated the law in their dope smuggling don't mind violating another law against possession of a prohibited weapon.


  1. Let's see illegal drugs raise money for the drug dealers to buy guns in the US. The guns are sold legally in the US, but illegally trafficked into Mexico.

    You neglect the phrase "the inevitable bureaucratic delays" about gun traces. Now there is an even bigger blockage in the Tiahrt Amendment which limits the use of gun trace info to US law enforcement.

    I would imagine that trace info is totally unavailable to the Mexican authorities. Not to mention it is seriously lacking as it only tells the first person who bought the firearm.

    The problem is that this assumes that both commodities are illegal, which the guns are not.

    US Guns are only unregulated.

    Now, what do you think would be the outcome if the seller/buyer were held accountable for letting the guns get into the hands of disqualified persons?


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