US Gun Laws Not Responsible For Haitian Violence

AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File

I wasn't planning a trip to Haiti anytime soon, and the way things have gone over the last little while there, that's for the best.

The nation is approaching failed state status--assuming they haven't already gotten there--and little seems to help. I mean, we're talking about stories of cannibalism, for crying out loud.


Haiti has a lot of problems, to say the least.

However, it should come as no surprise that the American media knows exactly who to blame for it. That would be us, the United States of America, the supposed source of all the problems anywhere in the world.

Just how are we at fault? It seems the guns showing up in Haiti originated here.

From Glocks to belt-fed machine guns and Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifles, the armory of crime gangs now bringing Haiti to the brink of disaster is expanding quickly as warlords led by Jimmy Chérizier strengthen their hold on the country.

And the vast majority of the weapons are flowing from the U.S.

Largely obtained in American gun stores, often by so-called straw buyers acting as stand-ins for the gangs, the weapons make their way to Haiti piecemeal or as disassembled parts hidden in shipments of food, clothing and secondhand cars to be used by the 300 or so gangs now expanding their hold on the capital, Port-au-Prince, investigators in the U.S. and Haiti say.

Better armed than the country’s beleaguered police, the gangs terrorize Haiti’s 11 million people and threaten the U.S.-supported creation of a special council that, once convened, would appoint an interim prime minister and pave the way for free elections.

Their tools include everything from ubiquitous 9mm handguns to the 7.62mm semiautomatic rifles favored by the world’s insurgent groups, according to the Haitian National Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, which is trying to stop the flow of weaponry. 


From the straw buyers to the freight forwarders, the money carriers to corrupt Haitian officers, the gun-smuggling business is immensely profitable.

The U.N. report from September said that a 5.56mm semiautomatic rifle costing a few hundred dollars in the U.S. can go for as much as $8,000 in Haiti.

Weapons packing more punch cost far more, said Homeland Security’s Salisbury, explaining that a .50-caliber sniper rifle valued at $10,000 in the U.S. can be bid up to $80,000 by Haiti’s cash-rich gangs.

“That’s for one gun,” Salisbury said. “So, you just make $60,000 to $70,000 profit.”

And the gangs are thirsting for ever more firepower—and know full well that they can easily secure nearly any kind of weapon in the U.S. legally.

“This gun problem is so huge that 90% of the guns that go into Haiti come from the U.S.,” said Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D., Fla.), a Haitian-American serving in Congress. “Many people who are in the U.S. are buying and arming the gangs.”


Now, as alluded to above, everything happening here is already illegal. The straw buy is illegal, as is shipping it out of the country without State Department approval. Smuggling it into Haiti is illegal as well.

Nothing happening here is legal.

What it is, though, is profitable. Insanely profitable.

Those who are taking part in this should be arrested and charged once there's sufficient evidence, but we all know that's not where this is going to end. Anti-gunners are already trying to paint the picture that our gun laws are the reason for this happening, not a symptom of what's wrong with Haiti itself.

They'll argue that if no one can get these guns then the bad guys in Haiti wouldn't be able to get them, either. Yet they're ignoring the fact that the markup here is insane. If Haitian gangs are willing to pay this much for something like an AR-15 then someone is going to meet that demand. 

The problems in Haiti aren't because guns can get in. After all, let's remember that Haiti is one nation that shares the island with the Dominican Republic. Same basic geography, roughly the same distance to the United States, all of that, and yet they don't have this fiasco going on inside their borders.

If the gangs have the resources to drop this much on a single gun then they have the resources to get weapons no matter what laws we trying to implement.

Haiti needs a political enema, not American gun control.


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