The nation of Mexico has been in turmoil for years now. While it has never been considered a particularly prosperous nation, it was at least a stable nation for the most part. Sure, it was the place people ran to while trying to stay away from the American police and there’s always been a reputation for corruption south of the border, but it was still stable.
These days, though, Mexico seems to be perpetually teetering on the edge of becoming a failed state.
Also these days, more and more in the media are ready to say it’s the fault of the United States and the American gun culture‘s refusal to accept still more gun control.
This rugged stretch of Guerrero state had always been a little lawless, home to cattle rustlers and highway bandits. But by the time the gunmen seized Ocotito in 2013, the region was overrun with dozens of criminal groups battling for territory.
There was another key difference: The criminals were now packing AR-15s, AK-47s and other weapons of war.
Um…AK-47s and AR-15s aren’t really in the same class. While we classify all AK-pattern rifles as AK-47s, the only actual AK-47s are those that are chambered in 7.62×39 and are capable of full-auto fire.
Those are tightly restricted in the United States.
AR-15s are semi-auto only and aren’t issued to troops in any military on Earth.
Today, millions of weapons are in private hands — in direct violation of Mexico’s strict gun laws.
Some of those firearms once belonged to the military or police and were sold into the underworld. But the vast majority were smuggled from the world’s largest gun market: the United States.
The arms buildup has helped fuel record levels of violence. Last year, Mexico saw 20,005 gun homicides — nearly seven times as many as in 2003.
They have incurred, and inflicted, many losses in a conflict that Alanis said can only be described as a “civil war.”
“The assassins that kill us are Mexican,” said Alanis, 40. “And the people we shoot are Mexican.”
As for the weapons, that’s another story. He pointed to the words stamped on the barrel of a Colt Match Target assault rifle slung across the chest of a teenage fighter: “HARTFORD, CONN, U.S.A.”
“We kill each other,” he said. “And you send the bullets.”
The implication is clear. It’s the fault of the United States and pro-gun activists who oppose additional gun control measures.
However, let’s be honest here, Mexico’s problems have little to do with guns being illegally smuggled across the border. Oh, people are being shot with those guns, sure, but the issue is deeper than that. The problem is that Mexican drug cartels are criminal enterprises that the Mexican authorities have done precisely squat to actually curtail.
Mexico has some incredibly strict gun control laws while making noises about respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens to be armed. Yet there’s only one gun store in Mexico and just getting in the door requires years months worth of background checks. The whole system is rigged to make it difficult for law-abiding Mexicans to fight back.
This empowers the cartels and anyone with half a brain knows it.
So, as the L.A. Times notes, the good guys down there started arming themselves with black market guns to fight back. They had to. The government, possibly influenced by cartel money, refused to do much of anything to fix the issue. So, people armed themselves however they could and started fighting back.
I’m sorry, but I refuse to feel bad about that, even if those guns were illegally obtained in order to be shipped south.
It is not our responsibility to pass laws to make the Mexican government’s job easier. It was their responsibility to deal with the problems within their borders. Now, I’m fine with American authorities trying to stem the flow of guns into Mexico. That’s illegal, after all.
But I will not accept a curtailment of my rights just so some Mexican politician can sit on his fat butt and pretend he’s addressing his country’s very real issues.
If anyone should accept responsibility for American guns in Mexico, that should probably be the Obama administration. Fast and Furious was on their watch and it explicitly sent guns down to Mexico knowing they were going to end up the cartels’ hands. They knew it and still forced dealers to sell the guns.
Now, I’m not saying that’s the only source of guns for Mexico. I’m sure there are all kinds of ways guns end up down there. What I do know, however, is that my gun rights aren’t responsible for Mexico’s problems.