The recent Washington Post piece on U.S. guns arming Mexican drug gangs reminded me: I never did go back and read that 2nd piece in the Christian Science Monitor series I blogged on before. This quote from the CSM article pretty much sums it up:
The US and Mexico already work together against drug trafficking. But it is weak gun laws in the US – compared with strict ones in Mexico – that help drive the cross-border gun trade. Mexico itself can do more, too, such as curbing corruption among customs agents. But if Americans want to help improve life for Mexicans, they'll need to stand up to the gun lobby in Congress and state legislatures.
Then there's this, too:
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 also worrisome is an increase in Mexican gang agents at US gun shows who brazenly pay citizens to buy weapons for them. The US does not have enough federal officials to catch such acts, while many states have loose rules about sales at gun shows.
An undercover investigation by Garen Wintemute, a University of California professor, found such illegal "straw purchases" are common at gun shows. He used hidden recording devices at 28 shows in five states during 2005 and 2006 to detect 24 illegal sales. Often, such sales happened in plain sight of law-enforcement officers. He found one Phoenix vendor with a sale sign in Spanish, offering various assault rifles.
He says California has stronger gun laws than the other four states, and his research shows the result is less illegal trade and proves that tough regulation can work.
Uh oh. They went and did it. They said regulation...
More on the problem in this CSM article entitled "US steadies its aim at gun trafficking into Mexico."