Thursday, July 19, 2007

'Rescue Mexico from US Guns'

While most Americans worry about who or what is coming into their country from Mexico, I doubt many realize the extent to which guns are being smuggled out of the US and into Mexico.

A Christian Science Monitor article reveals:

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. More than 90 percent of the thousands of guns confiscated yearly in Mexico have been traced to US origin.

Square that with this:

The Bush administration has waked [sic] up late to Mexico's gun problem. Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Congress he didn't know where most of the confiscated weapons in Mexico come from.

Obviously Chertoff didn't have one of his infamous "gut feelings" about that situation.

Just as the US expects Mexico to curtail illegal migration, 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. More than 1,300 people this year have been killed in Mexican drug-gang-related shootings.

The 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. Mexico itself can do more, too, such as curbing corruption among customs agents. But if Americans want to help improve life for Mexicans, they'll need to stand up to the gun lobby in Congress and state legislatures.

And with groups like the NRA lobbying congresspeople and spending tens of millions to do so, it's going to take much more than the do-nothing effort congress has made to this point. Then again, that begs the question: just how much do Americans really "want to help improve life for Mexicans"?

No comments:

Post a Comment