Stop blaming US for Mexico's problems

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Mexico is a rough place. While it should be an excellent vacation spot for Americans, even a retirement destination for many, the truth is that there are parts of the country where no decent person should bother going. Not if they value their lives, anyway.

However, we keep being told how it’s America’s fault that Mexico is the way it is.

Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit against US gun manufacturers likely won’t result in victory. But it may call attention to the effect America’s lax gun laws have on its neighbours.

Ineffective United States gun control does not only lead to mass shootings and violent crime in America; Mexico and Canada, two countries with strict gun laws, suffer as well.

According to a 2019 Rolling Stone article, smugglers get a quarter million guns into Mexico annually. Most go to dangerous cartel members. Famously, the drug kingpin El Chapo’s operation took weapons back across the border after dropping drugs off in the US.

A similar process happens in Canada, where 85 percent of handgun crimes result from US made guns, according to Reuters.

And although Canada is committed to strengthening its existing laws – it will ban all handgun imports starting 19 August –  illegal weapons still get through the blockade. The process is known as straw purchasing; the buyer purchases the weapon legally in the US and sells it over the border.

In an attempt to hold US gun manufacturers responsible for crimes committed with their products, Mexico filed a $10 billion lawsuit in Massachusetts. The suit names ten companies (including Smith & Weston, Glock, and Colt) and claims they “actively assist and facilitate trafficking of their guns to drug cartels in Mexico” to “maximize[s] their sales and profits.”

Though Mexico is unlikely to win the case outright, it does not mean it’s a lost cause. Davis sees the positive of “having a friendly foreign nation come in and say this is a big problem for us.” He is “sort of impressed and pleased” on a personal level, viewing the case as an opportunity to learn about Mexico’s gun laws and gain perspective on a little known issue (from an American standpoint).

Others consider the lawsuit a public relations victory as well. Ioan Grillo, who authored a book on the US to Mexico gun trade, says the case brings this issue into the public arena. “When there’s a lawsuit like this, it starts to push and change the parameters,” Grillo told the BBC. “Already, the gun companies are going to have to try and defend themselves.”

However, there are a few problems with this idea that the US is somehow responsible for jack.

First, it’s illegal to transport firearms outside of the US without special permits. This applies whether you’re going to Mexico, Canada, or Afghanistan.

Further, these laws are enforced as vigorously as they can be.

So, to claim the US is responsible and not doing anything to address the issue is asinine.

I’m kind of glad the author brought up Canada, actually. You see, Canada also shares a border with the US, one that’s particularly free for two-way traffic. It’s not difficult to cross the border in either direction–arguably, easier than going into Mexico.

And yet, while supposedly 85 percent of handguns used in violent crime are American–a number I’m skeptical of–their violent crime rate is nothing at all akin to Mexico’s.

If the availability of firearms is the only factor driving Mexico’s violent crime rate, then why doesn’t Canada have a similar rate? There’s literally nothing stopping American or Canadian criminals from smuggling guns into Canada, so why aren’t those rates remotely similar?

The reason is that Mexico is a nation full of corrupt public officials and police that has essentially handed over large swaths of territory to violent cartels and doing remarkably little to deal with the issue. Instead, they want to blame us for their own failings.

A lesson they likely learned from cities like Chicago.

But all that matters to American gun grabbers is the opportunity to blame the US for the problems. It’s funny, so many of them say they don’t want the US to serve as the world’s policeman, but then they think we’re supposed to solve the world’s problems.

Make up your mind.