Archive for April 17th, 2009


Arming Mexico’s Drug War

There is absolutely no doubt that violence in the Mexico – US border areas is astoundingly high. And there is no doubt that much of this violence is related to the illicit drugs trade. But certain assertions have been made in the public furor and publicity over these events that just do not seem right to me. I’ll concede that the US is rather derelict in enforcing its own laws. Our solution to that particular issue is to heap on more laws (that will also fail to get enforced).

U.S. gun stores and gun shows are the source of more than 90 percent of the weapons being used by Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

That is from a recent ABC News story. It’s illegal for a firearm to be sold in the United States to a non-citizen. So, if they are buying guns here, they are doing so illegally. It’s also illegal to take the guns across the border, so another violation. Assuming that you accept the basic premise that the US is supplying the guns, laws are being broken left and right to do so. Why add more laws or restrict the rights of US citizens to help out Mexico? Why indeed? But what if we are not getting the whole story?

Take a ride with me on the logic bus. Let’s assume that these guns being used in Mexico’s drug wars are bought in the US. Some way, some how… there would be a record of sale in some Acquisition and Disposition book by a US manufacturer, distributor or dealer that indicates the transfer of the weapons at least once. And assuming that the Mexican police are not wholly incompetent, at least a few of these weapons would have been seized by the Mexican authorities. So you have a gun with a serial number that was used in a crime. In the US, the law enforcement agency that has such a weapon would request “trace data” from BATF to figure out where the guns came from and how they got there. If the assertion that US border gun retailers and gun shows are arming the cartels is true, then all it would take to validate the thoery is a trace data report.

  • Why have we not heard about any Mexican authorities requesting trace data from the US on any of the weapons used in the drug gang violence?
  • Why hasn’t the gun-banning element in the US flogged this trace data around in an apoplectic fit to get these rogue dealers shut down?
  • Why aren’t we enforcing our own laws?

The ABC story says that the Mexican government says that they have traced the guns back to the US. How? Mexican authorities do not have access to the trace database. The story also has Bill Newell, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division of the BATF, says “I have personally worked cases where gun dealers have willfully allowed hundreds of guns to leave their gun store knowing that they were going into the wrong hands.” What was done? At the very least, that is the willfull allowance of “straw purchasing” of firearms and the dealer can and should be shut down. But we have not heard about a host of border area dealers being shut down.

Something is not right about all of this.