Mexican government sues Arizona gun stores over cartel crime

Mexican government sues Arizona gun stores over cartel crime
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Just a few days after a federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by the government of Mexico against several major gun manufacturers, the Obrador administration has filed a new challenge; this one aimed at five Arizona gun stores that Mexico claims are aiding and abetting drug cartels.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson, alleges that the gun stores in question are knowingly selling firearms to straw purchasers; individuals who claim to be purchasing a firearm for themselves but are in actuality buying the gun for another.

“We are suing them because clearly there is a pattern, we contend that it is obvious that there is weapons trafficking and that it is known that these guns are going to our country,” Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said.

Ebrard said about 60% of the weapons seized in Mexico in recent years were believed to have been sold in 10 U.S. counties, mostly along the border. The lawsuit points out the Tucson-to-Nogales, Sonora corridor is considerd one of the three busiest corridors for gun smuggling.

Mexico has very strict restrictions on weapon possession, but thousands of weapons get through, and organized-crime violence has cost hundreds of thousands of lives in the country in recent years.

“We are going to show that many of these outlets where they sell these products in these counties I mentioned, are dealing with straw purchasers, and criminal charges have to be brought,” Ebrard said last week in an appearance before the Mexican Senate.

See, that’s the thing. Straw purchasing is a crime in the United States, so if Ebrard and the Mexican government have evidence that these gun stores are breaking the law why aren’t they going to the Biden administration with that information instead of filing a civil lawsuit alleging that crimes are taking place? It’s not like the Biden administration has been taking a hands-off approach to regulating gun shops. Quite the opposite. ATF license revocations of FFLs are at a 16-year high, as a matter of fact, so if there is in fact a clear pattern of illegal sales you’d think the agency would have already gotten involved an initiated action against the stores being sued.

I’ve not been able to find an electronic filing of the lawsuit, so I can’t speak to any specific allegations on the part of the Mexican government, but gun shops in border states are already required under federal law to report multiple sales of both handguns and modern sporting rifles to the ATF, which means that if there really is evidence of a pattern of gun trafficking originating from these shops the feds would likely have been aware of long before the Obrador administration teamed up with gun control lobby lawyers in an attempt to blame the firearms industry for the cartel violence in Mexico.

As the National Shooting Sports Foundation has pointed out, there are indications that the Mexican military is a huge source of cartel arms, with one report alleging as much as 30% of US-made firearms sold to the country’s armed forces are “lost”, and likely diverted to the cartels. Instead of focusing inward and trying to root out the systemic corruption and graft within the Mexican government, however, the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador would much rather pin the blame for their failures on American gun companies and ultimately our Second Amendment rights.

The cartel problem isn’t Mexico’s alone, of course. The fentanyl that the cartels produce is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year; 71,238 in 2021 according to the CDC. That’s more than double the total number of homicides in Mexico, and more than three times the number of murders in the United States. If you want an up close and personal look at how the cartels are ruining lives in both countries Turning Point USA has produced an outstanding docuseries on the porous US-Mexico border, and you can check out the first eye-opening episodes right here at SALEMNOW.

Mexico’s foreign secretary should give it a watch as well, frankly. If he believes that US gun stores are the cause of the cartel violence, and we believe that the cartels are the source of our scores of opioid deaths, it seems like the best thing for both countries would be to secure the border. The fact that the AMLO administration would rather engage in legal stunts targeting our Second Amendment rights instead of getting serious about border security and combatting cartel violence doesn’t give me a lot of optimism that things are going to get better soon, but I’m much more hopeful about the chances of this junk lawsuit getting tossed out of court in the months ahead.