US not to blame for Latin American violence

US not to blame for Latin American violence
AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

I spend a fair bit of my day actively hunting down stories involving guns, gun control, violence, etc. I mean, it’s kind of a part of the job.

As a result, I see a lot of arguments that seem to repeat themselves. Unsurprisingly, many are in response to arguments folks on our side of the debate make. Or, at least, what they imagine our arguments would be.

Of course, one issue you run into with this is that the debate tends to look a bit one-sided. People look at one article and think they grok the argument, then run off to social media and pretend they know something.

They don’t.

You see, they get arguments like this one. Now, before I share part of this, I want you to understand that this is just a single paragraph in an op-ed about whether or not Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s new gun control proposals would actually do anything.

This all seems very, very reasonable, and, if I’m being honest, tepid. Sadly, I know there’s only so much we can do that the Supreme Court won’t strike down. This is why it’s so hard for states that are intent on following the example of literally every other country on earth when it comes to guns — namely that they should be difficult to buy, and that only very specific types should be available to the public. That’s where we should be heading, except we can’t.

And, before the pro-gun people trot out Mexico, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries with strict gun laws and high homicide rates, let me ask you this: where do you think all their black market guns come from? Take a wild guess. It’s like trying to keep your kids from eating sweets when your next-door neighbor has gigantic piles of Jolly Ranchers just sitting there in his front yard, with big friendly signs that say “Eating candy is your constitutional right!”

Oh, that’s adorable.

First, I’d challenge the author to tell me how these Latin American nations get their drugs. I mean, if they can only get guns because of our lack of gun control, then what nations’ poor drug control laws have allowed narcotics to become such a part of life down that way?

Further, one would be very hard-pressed to actually back up that claim. Sure, we’ve seen numbers suggesting as much with regard to Mexico in particular, but the truth is that those are just guns that are successfully traced end up coming from the US. There are legions more that aren’t successfully traced that could come from anywhere.

And that shouldn’t be surprising.

Let’s remember that during the 1980s, Latin America was proxy-war central between the United States and the USSR. It seemed like the news was filled nightly with some kind of fighting down that way between US-backed forces and communist guerillas.

So there are tons of firearms floating around down there from pretty much everywhere.

Further, we can surmise that at least with regard to Mexico, some of those US-originating firearms may well have come from government arsenals. The corruption down that way is impressive, really.

Now, the author is quick to blame us for their violence problem, but that demand we simply ignore the harsh reality on the ground down there. Plus, frankly, if those nations’ gun control regimes actually worked, then how could guns from here cause a problem?

Right now, guns may well be coming, at least in part, from the United States. However, it’s foolish to believe that the flow wouldn’t reverse if we were to suddenly find a way to keep lawful guns out of the hands of criminals. Drugs make it north easily enough. Guns would too, if there was a profit in shipping them that way.

And I’m not going to pretend otherwise.