Christian Science Monitor on guns and Mexico
Ah, at least CSM will remind me of how the media is supposed to be! Here's their editorial, "Rescue Mexico from US Guns". I'll take the major parts one by one.
It's not only poverty propelling Mexicans into the US. Rising gun violence by drug gangs, and lately a military surge against them, have driven many to cross the border. And where do these drug cartels get their arsenal of weapons? El Norte, of course.
Lax gun laws and lax enforcement in the United States have made it easy for Mexican gunrunners to buy and transport everything from AK-47s to Stinger antiaircraft missiles, which then allows the cartels to use these high-powered weapons against rival gangs or against a military attack.
Hmm... it's been a while since I've seen a Stinger for sale at the local swap meet, or an unlicensed AK-47. CSM's editors must hang out in some rougher places than I visit.
Most alarming is the increasing flow of combat-style rifles into Mexico, often just a few at a time hidden in the trunk of a car. That trend is partly a result of Congress allowing the US ban on assault weapons to lapse in 2004.
Earth to space cadet. Report in at once. The "ban" on AWs banned a few models by name, and required others to be made without a few features (e.g., a bayonet lug). Are the Mexican cartels fixing bayonets? As far as taking arms into Mexico in the trunk of a car -- this would be more difficult if the border guards couldn't be bribed (customary mordida is $10) to skip searching a car. This is a Mexican problem, not a US one.
But also worrisome is an increase in Mexican gang agents at US gun shows who brazenly pay citizens to buy weapons for them.
Got some examples?
An undercover investigation by Garen Wintemute, a University of California professor, found such illegal "straw purchases" are common at gun shows. He used hidden recording devices at 28 shows in five states during 2005 and 2006 to detect 24 illegal sales.
You can read his study (partially funded by Joyce Foundation) here. (1) We have to rely upon his judgment that he could tell a straw sale by watching, and that he reports it fairly; (2) the data on this is supposedly in Table 3. Unfortunately, the report has only two Tables. (3) He claims to have observed illegal sales in the immediate vicinity of police officers, which makes one justifiably suspicious that they weren't illegal sales; (4) he claims to have seen 24 straw sales and 3 probables, at 28 gun shows, which doesn't suggest much of an issue, and (5) he claims some behavior that I have never observed at a gun show, such as taking cell phone pictures of guns.
He says California has stronger gun laws than the other four states, and his research shows the result is less illegal trade and proves that tough regulation can work.
He refers to Table 3, which can't be found.
Just as the US expects Mexico to curtail illegal migration
Not a prayer, guys. Haven't you heard that there is a government agency, Grupo B, which gives them bus rides to the border?
the US needs to do far more to help Mexico in its current campaign against powerful drug cartels and to block these private armies from getting US guns.
Understand, CSM editors, the cartels own the Mexican government. There are even standard procedures for getting paid. (Cash is provided via third parties, who can be killed in the unlikely event the bribes are investigated).
he US and Mexico already work together against drug trafficking. But it is weak gun laws in the US – compared with strict ones in Mexico – that help drive the cross-border gun trade.
Those strict Mexican gun laws -- at least this part is true. What is also true is that Mexico has a murder rate 250% that of the US.
Yeah, the Stinger thing is a standard use of the old yellow journalism standard:
Repeat a lie long enough, and loud enough, and it pretty much becomes the same as truth and people will believe it as such.
"When fiction rises pleasing to the eye, Men will believe, because they love the lie; ..." Charles Churchill
Posted by: Letalis at July 19, 2007 09:16 PM
Mr. Hardy, you are simply hilarious. Everybody knows Americans keep stinger missiles in the backs of their pick-ups. I keep two in my SUV, alone, for when I encounter the rampant buffalo hordes down here in Georgia. Gotta watch out for them. They'll get our peaches, yessir.
Posted by: Jonas Salk at July 19, 2007 09:16 PM
As far as
"He says California has stronger gun laws than the other four states, and his research shows the result is less illegal trade and proves that tough regulation can work."
is concerned, what exactly is that 4th other state along the Mexican border? Did I miss something? Or is that state in Table 3 also? The last time I checked, besides California, the were only AZ, NM and TX.
Not only is our fearless reporter reality challenged but he could use a refresher in North American geography as well. My, my, what passes for journalism these days.
Posted by: Greg Lyons at July 19, 2007 09:41 PM
If they have stingers, wouldn't they be getting them from the Mexican government who routinely receives gifts from our government? That is certainly where they get the full autos and the explosive weapons.
Posted by: Jim W at July 19, 2007 10:19 PM
JOURNALISTIC METHODOLOGY 101
1) State your conclusions.
2) Plot your graph.
3) 'Develop' your supporting data.
4) If time allows, do the research.
Posted by: Jim D. at July 20, 2007 01:24 AM
No Bias here. Blaming the Kalashnikov's on American is stupid enough. They make gun shows out to be where illegal sales are commonly done. The Christian Science Monitor has lost their last shred of credibility and integrity a long time ago.
Posted by: The Mechanic at July 20, 2007 09:15 AM
I was a Stinger crewman when I was in the Natl. Guard. The only live ones we had were locked in a vault bigger than my bank. We even kept the dummies there.
But the anti's meme's continue.
Posted by: thirdpower at July 20, 2007 09:42 AM
Why don't we agree to stop sending illegal guns to Mexico if they will stop sending illegal immigrants to the US?
Posted by: david at July 20, 2007 12:17 PM
Note also the clueless repetition of the "evil guns in VA cause crime only in DC" idiocy. So-called journalists write that gun availability causes crime, then to prove it they show that people smuggle guns from low-crime jurisdictions (where they're easy to get) into high-crime jurisdictions (where they're rare). Yeah. What was it you were trying to prove, again?
Posted by: Mark Seecof at July 20, 2007 12:51 PM
Isn't this just a slight rearrangement of the AP article in the AZ Republic article from a few weeks ago? This is sounding like an organized campaign. I just checked the link in my email reply to the AZ Repub author and it is no longer valid, so I'll inclose my email to him which gives the flavor of the article:
In your article "Arizona a growing gun smuggling route to Mexico" http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0524gunssouth0525.html you state:
Cartel operatives flood Arizona to buy semi-automatic assault rifles, grenades, plastic explosives and rocket launchers in bulk.
I would like to know the basis for this statement since grenades, plastic explosives and rocket launchers are NOT available to the general public and are only available "in bulk" in AZ from the military or military suppliers. State ONE gun store or gun show where these items can be procured in bulk (or even singly) by the general public in AZ (or anywhere else in the U.S. for that matter). Also, by definition, an assault rifle is fully automatic and only available to a limited number of people who undergo thorough law enforcement screening and strict regulation, so your entire statement is extremely misleading or erroneous. There are other statements made which are erroneous or highly suspect and unverifiable. Further, I have an authoritative source who states the "weapons" encountered by the border patrol with cartel smugglers are usually fully automatic AK-47s. These do not come from AZ since their manufacture has been banned in the U.S. for many decades.
Finally, assuming you have merely engaged in deceptive hyperbole and semi-automatic rifles are being smuggled into Mexico in violation of numerous existing laws, the FACTS show that new gun laws (which you imply are needed) do NOT remedy this kind of problem. The so-called gun show loophole as a major source of illegal weapons has been shown to be a fiction invented by certain anti-gun groups and does not correspond to reality. Also, I notice that you carefully link, by simple juxtaposition, unjustified opinions with the ATF agent's remarks, creating an appearance of fact from an unverifiable lie. This statement is a perfect example:
So at Arizona gun shows, it's common to see vendors describe large volumes of guns as private collections. These are unlicensed dealers.
Enforcing existing laws and jailing offenders has been shown to be far more effective then closing any supposed "loopholes". This is demonstrated in your article by the reported arrests made by the ATF. This principle of enforcing existing laws applies to both sides of the border. This includes border smuggling. If Mexico has a problem with guns (or anything else) being smuggled into their country, it is their responsibility to secure their borders just as it is our responsibility to secure ours.
This sounds EXACTLY like Brady Campaign propaganda to me and your credibility is now zero with me and many others. Further, the front page placement of this propaganda has confirmed my opinion that the AZ Republic editors and staff have taken a decidedly "Left" turn over the past years and is no longer trustworthy as a news source independent of political agendas.
Posted by: Alan A. at July 20, 2007 04:53 PM
In an open border whre there are tons of narcotics smuggled into the US every year it is impossible to tell who smuggles what and to where.
Of course it is possible to smuggle small arms into Mexico. However, there is no grand scale of arms going into Mexico by the average person who buys a weapon at a gun show.
All purchases at gun shows are in accordance with the law because gun show exibitors are always concerned with an ATF sting and because no one would risk his FFl license on a BS deal.
Recently, here in El Paso, the feds arrested a Mexican national that attempted to purchase several hunting rifles and large amounts of ammo at Wal Mart!
The minute he left the store the clerk called the feds. When the man returned for his purchases he was arrested.
Much of the importation of small arms into Mexico is done by sea by Europeans and South Americans. Also through Guatemala.
Also much of the illicit firearms trade in Mexico comes from the police and the military, both sell issued and captured weapons on the black market.
There are .50 cals in Mexico. There are also M-60's. Very few are recent arrivals. I saw an M-60 in a village outside of Acapulco in the 70's.
We have a strong troop presence in Iraq and wapons there flow like water.
Most middle class homes in Mexoco have a handgun for home defense. They range from old Colt's to the most modern of hand guns. Like the US Mexico has immigrants from all over the word and does bussiness all over the word. Many firearms get in in otherwise legal shipments etc.
To think that US gun laws are responsible for the small arms in Mexico is foolish.
Posted by: Kenneth del Valle at July 28, 2007 04:37 PM