Where the blame for Mexico's illegal guns problem really lies

By Jeff Riley

In his article "Mexico's drug violence is hard on Arizona", Washington Post columnist George Will is one of the latest columnists to repeat the myth that American gun stores along the border are the main source for Mexico's drug cartels.

Mr. Will is late to the party and misinformed.

This meme started appearing as far back as the summer of 2008 when the Los Angeles Times started publishing a continuing series of stories titled "Mexico under Siege".

Time and time again the U.S. is blamed for our "lax" gun laws that supposedly allow guns and money to flow south into Mexico, while drugs and human smugglers flow north into the U.S.

It's almost like a coordinated effort exists among the Brady Center, anti-gun news agencies, and the Obama administration to drum up negative press consisting of half-truths, distortions, and downright lies.

Some of the wildest accusations are that Arizona gun stores were supplying fully automatic weapons (assault rifles or even machine guns), grenades, and rocket-propelled grenades! All of which is blatantly false and unsubstantiated.

All this came to a head when U.S. Attorney Eric Holder floated the idea that it was time to revive the now-defunct Clinton Gun Ban which expired in 2004. From MSNBC:

The attorney general also suggested that re-instituting a U.S. ban on the sale of assault weapons would help reduce the bloodshed in Mexico, where last year 6,000 people were killed in drug-related violence...U.S. officials have a responsibility to make sure Mexican police "are not fighting substantial numbers of weapons, or fighting against AK-47s or other similar kinds of weapons that have been flowing to Mexico," Holder said.

Now we see George Will is repeating the meme:

But although almost all the cartels' weapons come from the United States, the cartels are generating upward of $15 billion annually from drugs, human trafficking and extortion.

Nowhere does Will mention that the Mexican authorities have yet to provide serial numbers or trace data proving that most of these weapons originated from the U.S.

Of the 6,600 gun dealers who operate along the 2000 mile border only one (X-Caliber Guns) is singled out by Will as being suspected of selling firearms to straw purchasers, who then illegally sell or smuggle weapons across the border.

Ironically, the same morning Will's column appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, The Arizona Republic reported:

State prosecutors suffered a public setback in efforts to combat border violence Wednesday when a judge dismissed high-profile charges against a Phoenix gun dealer accused of arming Mexican cartels.

The case against George Iknadosian, owner of X-Caliber Guns, had been covered on national TV broadcasts and in stories by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

But in mid-trial, all 21 counts were dismissed by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Gottsfield, who decided he had found a flaw in the government's case.

Gottsfield dismissed jurors and granted acquittal in response to a so-called Rule 20 motion sought by Baker. Under Arizona law, Rule 20 holds that a case must be thrown out if the state's evidence is inadequate for conviction.

"There is no proof whatsoever that any prohibited (firearm) possessor ended up with the firearms," he said.

Now the truth is staring to come out, and it seems that even the L.A. Times is starting to understand where the problem really lies. From "Drug cartels' new weaponry means war":

Traffickers have escalated their arms race, acquiring military-grade weapons, including hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets with firepower far beyond the assault rifles and pistols that have dominated their arsenals.

Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semi auto-matic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The proliferation of heavier armaments points to a menacing new stage in the Mexican government's 2-year-old war against drug organizations, which are evolving into a more militarized force prepared to take on Mexican army troops, deployed by the thousands, as well as to attack each other.

These groups appear to be taking advantage of a robust global black market and porous borders, especially between Mexico and Guatemala. (emphasis added)

Incredulously some think that restricting the rights of American gun owners due to Mexico's inability to control its own criminals is a perfectly rational response.

Flush with cash, drug cartels are going to be able to get any kind of weapons they desire and restricting the ownership of legally owned firearms in the U.S. is not going to even slow them down. Consider the fact the Columbian drug runners have been utilizing submarines of their own manufacture to smuggle drugs. Each one of these subs is estimated to cost $1 million to manufacture. How can they afford this? In 2007 when the first sub was captured, it was carrying 5 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $350 million.

While George's column is not explicitly anti-gun, and is more focused on the violence that illegal drugs is bringing to Arizona's citizens, he does repeat inaccurate information that unfairly demonizes gun dealers along the border. Fortunately Americans aren't buying into the lie that we are the source of Mexico's problems. Last week, 65 Democratic legislators have sent a letter to the Attorney General advising him that they will not support a renewed "Assault Weapons" ban and chastise him for trying to use Mexico's problems as a pretext for restricting American's rights.

I would suggest that if the Adminstration is that worried about violence and drugs spilling accross the borders into the U.S. they should do something really constructive......like build a fence along the whole border and hire more Border Patrol agents.

Jeff Riley is a Southwest Ohio volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.

Additional Information:
Testimony on Violence in Mexico
[T]he people on the ground aren't calling for changes in our country's gun laws in order to deal with the Mexican problem, apparently much to the dismay of Senators Feinstein and Durbin. We also now know those on the ground don't believe that military grade weapons are coming from the United States, and certainly not from US gun shows. So one wonders whether the media in the United States are going to continue to blame the US for the proliferation of miltiary weapons into Mexico. I suspect that the media will ignore this testimony, but let's hope that Congress won't.

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