Please Stop Pretending American Guns Cause Mexican Violence

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

Mexico is a dangerous place. That’s bad for the United States because it’s more likely to increase illegal immigration as well as see the violence cross the border on a semi-regular basis. That’s not good for anyone.

And yet, far too often, people ignore all of that and instead try to put the blame on guns.

Over and over again, we’ve seen the reports. Take this one from NBC News:

In the last four years, Ioan Grillo traveled thousands of kilometers in crossings that took him from Mexico to the United States, Germany, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Colombia, while following a trail of iron and blood. Beyond the multimillion-dollar figures and chilling statistics, the writer was looking for answers to an ethical dilemma.

Grillo asked an arms dealer in Bulgaria, “Are you worried that the weapons you sell, legally, may later fall into the hands of criminals or terrorists?” The man stared at him and said no.

The Mexican government recently filed a lawsuit against major U.S. arms manufacturers and distributors in federal court in Boston, arguing their negligent business practices have sparked bloodshed in Mexico by marketing to the country’s criminal underworld, “facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association responded to the lawsuit saying that the Mexican government is responsible for the criminal boom in the country. What are your thoughts on that?

Grillo: The United States does have a great responsibility in the trafficking of arms and the violence in Mexico. Although the Mexican Government must improve a lot, the influence of weapons that arrive through the border cannot be denied. Imagine if Russia sent 2 million firearms to Germany and that generated a wave of violence with 200,000 deaths — that would be inconceivable, right? Manufacturers have to take responsibility and see why their products are getting into the hands of the cartels.

It is not normal for someone to walk into a store and buy 85 firearms — someone in Florida to acquire a thousand guns for criminals which end up in Colombia or Puerto Rico and are used in murders. This shows that no basic attempt is made to slow down or reduce this traffic. And, in the end, companies are making a lot of money because there are millions of firearms.

No, it’s not normal. However, let me put it this way for Mr. Grillo.

If guns were the issue and not the Mexican government’s complete and abject failure to maintain control, then why isn’t the United States experiencing similar levels of violence? Why aren’t we bordering on being a failed state?

Further, the United States didn’t “send” 2 million guns to Mexico. Criminals here obtained those guns and shipped them south. Let’s keep that in perspective. Trying to pretend otherwise is disingenuous at best.

Oh, but manufacturers have to take responsibility? For what? For what happens well after those guns leave the factory?

Look, that argument might actually work if you can prove they’re shipping the guns directly to the cartel, but that’s not what’s alleged. The allegations are that third parties are buying them from gun stores and then sending them. What exactly would you have them do?

“But someone can buy 85 guns in a store!”

And? If I had the money, I’d buy 85 guns every time I walked into the gun store. So what?

Look, can you make the case that Mexican violence would be less horrible if there were no guns? Sure. Yet these guys are getting and selling drugs, something illegal in every country. If they can create a multi-billion dollar empire doing that, what makes you think they can’t get guns?

Mexico’s problems are Mexico’s. They lost control and are desperate to blame someone else because they don’t want to answer for their own failures. Plain and simple.

While 2 million guns may have gone south, we still have something like 400 million in private hands here in the US. If guns were the issue, you’d damn well know about it.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET