by Javier Manjarres
In a story that was clearly intentioned to put firearms dealers and gun rights supporters on the defensive, the Washington Post’s recent investigative report documenting the transit of guns from U.S-based gun dealers into Mexico for use by drug gangs within that country’s raging drug cartel war makes a very strong argument for decisive action which was probably unintended by its authors- that point being to substantially step up our border security and seal off our southern border, rather than to encourage lawmakers to enact yet more gun regulations that only affect law abiding firearms dealers and gun owners.
The escalating drug war in Mexico continues to spill over to neighboring border towns in Texas as well as towns and cities across the entire southern border into California. Mexican government officials and its police are virtually powerless to take decisive action against these drug gangs because they are complicit with the drug lords and on the ‘take’, or the because they do not have the manpower to counter the violence the cartels are carrying out. Many in law enforcement are in the pay of these drug cartels because it is easier for them to look the other way when their families’ lives could be jeopardized if they were to oppose the cartels.
It’s pretty clear that the implicit argument in WaPo’s investigative report is to place blame for much of the violence in Mexico on U.S.-based gun dealers, but the WaPo’s journalistic ethics should be in question as a result of this report. Back in 2003, Congress passed a law that required the names of U.S. dealers that sold guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico to remain confidential. But now, the Washington Post is boasting that this confidentiality has been ‘cracked’ and they have ‘uncovered the names of the top 12 dealers of guns traced to Mexico in the past two years’. Did the WaPo run afoul of this law by including the names of U.S. gun dealers in their report?
“To suggest that U.S. gun laws are somehow to blame for Mexican drug cartel violence is a sad fantasy…guns are coming to Mexico from other Central American countries and from former Mexican soldiers who have U.S. weapons and are now working for the cartels.”- NRA Executive Director Chris Cox
But the real point that the WaPo investigative report inadvertently calls attention to is this– if these weapons that are legally purchased within the United States make their way into Mexico, the true problem is a border security and illegal immigration problem. Illegal border crossings greatly expedite the transit of guns into Mexico and drugs the United States. Many proponents of Amnesty complain that illegal immigrants should be allowed to cross the border and become citizens, but these proponents fail to realize that many of these illegal immigrants that they are defending are actually involved in the illicit drug trade that fuels the violence on both sides of the border. The incredibly porous U.S -Mexico border is largely unprotected, giving drug dealers and runners free reign to continue their trafficking as well as the violence and murder that is necessary to keep the drugs flowing.
Lax immigration laws and sympathetic liberal judges that release violent Mexican drug gangs that work with the cartels as well as illegal immigrants who have been jailed for breaking some sort of law and not being deported add to the growing problem.
In the wake of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, killed in southern Arizona by these same drug gangs that are plaguing Mexico, continued inaction on the matter is indefensible, but likely to continue. If nothing is not done to stem the tide of illegal border crossings, murder, drugs, weapons, and crime will continue to follow them into and out of this country.
By sealing the southern border tightly as possible– completing the border fence, stepping up security at highly trafficked cross-border transit points, stationing our National Guard along the border with the means to assist our Border Patrol so that they can intercept illegal border crossers, we can substantially curtail the flow of drugs and weapons that crosses the southern border.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón cannot continue to have it both ways on this issue- Calderón demands that we keep our borders open to allow Mexico’s underclass to flee its country while it builds a wall to close its own southern border with Guatemala. Our open borders policy begets illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and cross border arms shipments. The Washington Post’s article diagnosis the symptom, but not the disease- where the drug lords get their weapons at the end of the day to carry on their war really doesn’t matter- there are countless numbers of arms traffickers around the world from which they can obtain then. If we truly are concerned about the transit of guns into Mexico rather than paying it lip service and feigning outrage, we would close our southern border immediately and substantially step up our border security measures. Don’t hold your breath.