40 percent of guns in South America reportedly from US

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

We respect people’s right to keep and bear arms here in the US. While gun rights aren’t what they should be here, they’re better than everywhere in the Western Hemisphere. Guns are plentiful here and much more easily available here than elsewhere.

The problem is that crime is rampant pretty much everywhere else. While that doesn’t actually impact us, a new report seems intent on blaming us for at least part of it.

Thousands of firearms manufactured or bought in the U.S. end up being used in crimes in Central America, according to an audit released last week that found about half of the weapons are smuggled into the region and the others are exported legally and “diverted” into criminals’ hands.

Florida, Texas and California were the most frequent sources of U.S.-purchased weapons that ended up in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ chief watchdog.

GAO investigators examined 27,240 requests that those countries submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for tracing from 2015 to 2019.

ATF found about 40% of the weapons were manufactured in the U.S. and the rest came from 39 other countries, the GAO said. A much smaller fraction were traced to a U.S. purchase.

Most were handguns, but there were some rifles and a small number of machine guns — about 1.7% of the total.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. I mean, sure, they’re saying 40 percent come from the US, but only about half of those are illegal transactions – and, interestingly, California is one of the states these guns reportedly come from – with the rest all coming from nations with far stricter gun control laws.

And yet, these guns still end up on the streets.

Interestingly, it appears Mexico is part of the pipeline.

The Central American nations don’t have exact data about firearms smuggling methods but believe most of them come across the land borders in the opposite direction of migrants.

It seems to me that if they’d control their borders for migrants, they’d end up controlling the same border for guns – just a thought.

Look, understand that I don’t like guns being smuggled out of the US any more than anyone else. This is a problem. While I believe the folks in these countries have a right to keep and bear arms, same as me, that doesn’t mean I’m cool with people breaking American laws to send firearms to the worst elements down there.

Especially as we’ve seen American politicians try to use that to justify gun control here in the US.

However, it should also be remembered that every one of those guns ended up in a criminal’s hand because of the failure of gun control laws. Good people in these South American countries are unable to resist criminals and tyrants because of these laws, laws that treat them as if they’re criminals while doing nothing to the actual criminals.

At the end of the day, some may still want to blame the US, but at least 20 percent of those guns are lawful transactions that are “diverted” to criminal hands, while the other 60 percent are coming from another nation. I’m sorry, but that isn’t on us.

It sounds like these nations need to get their crap together.