Tuesday, November 06, 2007

U.S.A. Gun Trade

The Bloodstained Trafficking in Guns
From the US to Mexico

Monday, November 5, 2007

With over 2,100 deaths between January and October 2007 related to drug trafficking and the use of weapons purchased in the US, Mexico pins its hopes on the future success of the Merida Initiative to combat drug and gun trafficking.

As news and rumors swirl around the current status and future success of the Merida Initiative, a plan to combat narco-trafficking in Mexico, those who argue the plan's merits can agree on at least one point: The front line of the so-called war on drugs has moved north from Colombia to the US-Mexican border, but the focus on drugs has overshadowed an element of the regional black market that is just as important.

Mexican authorities now estimate that during the administration of former Mexican president Vicente Fox (2000 to 2006), some 2,000 guns per day entered Mexico. That works out to about 1.4 guns per minute. During that same period, the Fox administration seized 8,088 guns of the estimated 4,380,000 that entered the country, representing 0.18 percent of all the arms illegally smuggled into Mexico over six years, according to the Mexican daily Reforma.

Reports from the Mexican Attorney General's office indicate that seized weapons are now more powerful and plentiful, and traced weapons almost always lead back to the US.

Since the ban on assault weapons in the US was removed in 2004, Mexican criminals have demonstrably singled-out versions of the AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles, or AR-15s, as their preferred weapons.

What has been called an "iron river" of guns, ammunition and light weapons flows south into Mexico where organized crime hit men and others use them to combat Mexican military and police. The resulting body count has pressured the Mexican government to request additional help from Washington, whose leaders remain reticent to enact strict gun control legislation.

In a country where the right to own a weapon is staunchly preserved, at least one, maybe two gun shows are organized nearly every weekend of the year. Texas, Arizona and California are considered the three source states for a majority of the guns that are purchased and smuggled into Mexico. Preventing these guns from flowing south is a challenge that pits the second amendment rights of US citizens against the bloody battles and mounting numbers of Mexicans killed by weapons purchased in the US.

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