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Where do Mexican gangs buy guns? El Norte.

This is a testament to federal gun laws here in the United States. According to a series by the Christian Science Monitor, drug gangs in Mexico get most of their guns from the U.S. Why? Because it's easier for them to get weapons in the U.S. than it is in Mexico. From the article:

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.

It gets better:

Most alarming is the increasing flow of combat-style rifles into Mexico, often just a few at a time hidden in the trunk of a car. That trend is partly a result of Congress allowing the US ban on assault weapons to lapse in 2004.

But the Bush administration is already on top of it:

The Bush administration has waked 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.

Oh, boy...



With all of the Republicans' supposed concern over the next terrorist attack, you would think that they would champion some degree of oversight as to who can purchase what and where. The Republican philosophy is that the only thing that should determine whether an individual can purchase a weapon is whether that individual can meet the asking price, no questions asked. Be careful what you wish for...

Is The Christian Science Monitor the best source for this type of investigation? Where does that 90% figure come from and how did they measure it? Can we get some confirmation from a source that actually investigates or measures something for a living?

That's an interesting comment... I have to wonder why you wouldn't consider the Christian Science Monitor a reliable source for that kind of information...? They've been around for about 100 years as a daily newspaper, their writers/writing has won numerous pulitzers, and I've never seen them accused of printing lies or inaccurate data. Plus they have fact checkers, researchers, etc., like every major newspaper, and more international investigative journalists than most daily newspapers. Why would you doubt the veracity of their numbers out of hand? Of course, I'm all for independent corraboration of the numbers, but I'm just curious why the CSM bias...

Mike- I don't think I hit them that hard. Simply, when I think of investigatory journalists who always get to the bottom of issues, CSM isn't at the top of my mental list. Plus, if you look at the figure they cite, it looks skewed too. "More than 90 percent of the thousands of guns confiscated yearly in Mexico have been traced to US origin." Where were these guns confiscated? At the border perhaps, on the way in?

"Where were these guns confiscated? At the border perhaps, on the way in?"

Perhaps, but doesn't that bolster the argument that purchasing restrctions need to be tighter, especially given Jude's comment regarding terrorism?

Thanks for the clarification, MK. The way I read the sentence, they're saying the guns were confiscated in Mexico, and traced to the U.S. - through serial numbers, etc - for original purchase.

CSM has a follow up piece planned, though, and maybe they'll provide more on the data in that article.

Flea markets (wake up) ANYONE can buy at flea markets, gun shows and garage sales...ANYONE from ANYWHERE. Shipping is easy too....THINK ABOUT IT

If they are getting stingers, it isn't legal here in the US. So someone is already breaking a law; another law isn't going to stop them.
If the drug cartels are using fully automatic weapons (and I have heard they have) then those weapons also are illegal for sale in the US (expect under stringent guidelines) and have been since 1934. So where are they getting THOSE weapons from?
Mexico should deal with it.

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