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.