Outlaws with guns


Tomorrow Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will visit Mexico to discuss ways to halt the flow of guns across the border. Mexico has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, but its drug cartels are armed with high-powered weapons smuggled over the border from the United States. More than 6,000 people have died in Mexican drug wars since 2006.

Caveat: I do not own a gun, and never have. The only gun I've ever shot was a BB gun, and yeah, it was fun to hit the tin can. Many of my friends are gun owners, gunsmiths, collectors and hunters, and I support the right to bear arms -- up to a point. But we're far beyond that point in this country, and the Second Amendment has been used and abused to defend an absolute right for anyone to purchase any number of killing machines. We see the results of that paranoia-with-a-weapon play out on U.S. streets, schools, post offices, businesses and campuses every day, resulting in more than 30,000 gun deaths a year, about a third of them suicides.

 Mexican President Felipe Calderon said this week there is a correlation between Mexico's drug violence and the end of the U.S. ban on sales of assault weapons (the ban expired in 2004). Ninety percent of the guns confiscated in Mexico come from the United States.

In February, the New York Times reported:

In 2007, the firearms agency traced 2,400 weapons seized in Mexico back to dealers in the United States, and 1,800 of those came from dealers operating in the four states along the border, with Texas first, followed by California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she -- like President Barack Obama -- would like to see the assault weapon ban reinstated, but acknowledged many in Congress would resist it.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Chris Cox drug out the old when-guns-are-outlawed-only-outlaws-will-have-guns argument, saying Mexico's gun laws have not stopped criminals from obtaining firearms, but leave "many of the honest residents of Mexico defenseless."

Meanwhile, people in the U.S. continue to purchase guns -- including assault weapons -- at alarming rates.  A spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent that the agency is running 1,000 background checks for gun purchases per day, as opposed to 300 per day a year ago.

HCN's editor Jonathan Thompson offered an argument for legalizing drugs as a step toward stopping narco-violence along the border. I doubt that's the solution that Napolitano and Holder will advocate. And I doubt that enough legislators have the courage to stand up to a gun lobby using Second Amendment as the basis for "the right" to purchase assault weapons.

So the border wars will continue, with increasing militarization, taller fences, more dogs and more lives lost. And more people in this country will purchase more weapons of destruction for "protection."



Where Are The Facts?
Steve Ware
Steve Ware
Apr 01, 2009 06:31 PM
What we have here is an article long on liberal drivel and short on facts including the use of the politically created phrase "assault weapon". No, Americans are not buying "assault weapons". They are buying modern rifles. An assault weapon is a rifle (a la M-16) capable of both semi-automatic and fully-automatic fire. That, Ms. Durlin, requires a background check & payment of a federal tax.

Additionally, it is illegal to purchase firearms for another individual (straw man purchases). But, criminals (by definition) don't obey laws. Thus, U.S. firearms entering Mexico is an illegal act.

The Orange County Register's Match 27, 2009 editorial states as follows, "And while Mexican drug gangs do smuggle weapons from U.S. gun stores along the border to elude Mexico's strict gun laws, the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine notes that since the beginning of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's decision two years ago to unleash the military against the drug gangs, the gangs' arsenals have come to include: "sea-going submersibles, helicopters and modern transport aviation, automatic weapons, RPG's, anti-tank 66 mm rockets, mines and booby traps, heavy machine guns, 50-caliber sniper rifles, massive use of military hand grenades, and the most modern models of 40 mm grenade machine guns."

Now, you cannot go to your local gun store and buy automatic weapons, RPG's, mines, or hand grenades.

If you want to debate gun control, let's discuss the issue based on verifiable facts.
US gun control won't help
Apr 02, 2009 08:33 AM
The guns being used by the cartels are not guns which are legal to own in this country anyway - so taking more of our firearms (and rights) away from us is not going to help that disaster south of the border. Even if the government seized all of our firearms, the cartels would be getting them from other countries in Central and South America anyway. Why do we have to diminish our own rights to help a helpless foreign country?
Undead Abbey
Undead Abbey
Apr 02, 2009 03:04 PM
2 Wiki's, a poorly researched story, a chronicle of an anti gun cellist, and a gun control organization website are hardly thorough references. They are opinions.

I think its simian greed and a propensity for violence thats the real problem, guns or not this will continue if wealth is to be made.

Again, Facts Please
Steve Ware
Steve Ware
Apr 02, 2009 04:43 PM
Marty, Marty, Marty - I hope you are not calling yourself a journalist when you use these sources to defend yourself. Michael Bloomberg is as anti-firearm as you can get. He has attempted to sue a lawful industry out of existence. A zealot cellist is NOT a source. She has opinions only. Wiki is a public "encyclopedia" that anyone can add anything to. Again, that is hardly a believable source.

Now, here is what drives me up a wall. Over 41,000 people were killed on America's highways each year. Why are you not raising a fit over that one? That's 25% more than killed by firearms & many if not most of the firearm deaths were suicides that would have used other means! You are assuming that no guns means no suicides.

If Mothers Against Drunk Driving took the same approach as anti-firearm proponents, they would be calling for a ban on cars. Why don't you propose punishment of the criminal rather than trying to ban the firearm?