Gun violence is rampant in Central American countries, and liberals are blaming U.S. gun laws for it. They say, with some degree of accuracy, that straw purchases made mostly in border states in the Southwest United States are fueling a drug cartel arms race in Mexico. After all, with lax border enforcement, which liberals prefer, it is incredibly easy to illegally smuggle arms bought in the U.S.
Criminals in Mexico, and those operating in the United States, are well aware our border’s lack enforcement. And that is just coming up into the United States from Mexico. When the flow is the other way, border enforcement becomes nearly non-existent. That makes it incredibly easy to funnel cash and firearms into Mexico.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) affirms from 2009 to 2014, more than 73,000 firearms seized in Mexico were traced back to the United States. That figure represents about 70 percent of the nearly 105,000 firearms Mexican officials seized during that time period. The GAO says U.S. police agencies acknowledge firearms smuggling fuels violent crime in Mexico.
“Most of the firearms seized in Mexico that were traced and found to be of U.S. origin from 2009 to 2014 came from U.S. Southwest border states,” the GAO reported in 2015. “While guns seized in Mexico of U.S. origin were traced to all of the 50 states, most came from Texas, California and Arizona.”
The GAO says those firearms were bought legally in the United States. That only is true if the purchaser never intended to smuggle the arms into Mexico for profit. Straw purchases of firearms are illegal. Law enforcement, though, cannot stop a seemingly legal firearms transaction from occurring, and criminals are smart enough to lie on the FFL transfer forms and background checks. Once the firearms are purchased, getting them into Mexico appears to be the easiest part of the criminal transaction.
It is so easy to smuggle arms into Mexico, that the federal government under Pres. Barack Obama’s administration intentionally let arms bought in the United States “walk” down into Mexico for a period of time.
That happened back from about 2009 to 2011, under the direction of the ATF’s Phoenix office. They estimate about 2,000 firearms – mostly military-style AR-15s and AK-47s, plus an assortment of .50-caliber rifles and others potent firearms, simply go across the border and disappear.
The ATF was supposed to “follow” the firearms through Mexico, but never had a plan in place to do so. So, the firearms simply disappeared – and wound up in the hands of the same criminals who have been wreaking havoc in communities across Mexico.
The ATF intended to trace the firearms and learn more about the criminals handling them. They did not – except after the fact, when some of the firearms turned up at murder scenes sites of other criminal acts.
While liberals, the ATF, and even Mexican authorities are correct in noting firearms bought in the United State are fueling violence in Mexico, they overlook a very obvious problem – a lack of border enforcement. A more secure border would stifle the flow of drugs and money used to illegally purchase and smuggle firearms. A more secure border would make it easier to track who is coming and going, and how often. It also would help to track where people go while in the United States.
If most of the illegal firearms are bought in three states, officials in Mexico and the United States should address the problem. That, though, would require the one thing liberals and corrupt politicians on both sides of the border do not want – strict border enforcement that could stifle the flow of drugs, money and firearms to and from the United States. Texas, Arizona and California are where most of those illegal arms originate.
They also are the states most impacted by illegal border crossings and related criminal enterprises. Money controls politics. So don’t expect liberals to support closing the borders to stifle the flow of drugs, money and arms. They only will stop the flow when it is illegal to buy firearms in the United States.