Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Gun Show Loophole"? Not Likely

Central American and Mexican drug-runners have a lot of money to spend, and they spend it on moving drugs--and protecting that movement with firepower.

The Washington Post reports on the situation and points the finger at US gun shows. The report fits neatly into the agenda which would stigmatize US gun shows and which would force all private gun transactions into a "dealer-only" channel. It also (handily enough) fits into a UN agenda item which would severely restrict small-arms manufacturing.

But is this the whole story?

Not likely.

The U.S. weapons -- as many as 2,000 enter Mexico each day, according to a Mexican government study -- are crucial tools in an astoundingly barbaric war between rival cartels that has cost 4,000 lives in the past 18 months and sent law enforcement agencies in Washington and Mexico City into crisis mode.

First off, that's a helluvalotta guns per day. A reasonable man could concede that there is illicit gun-trafficking from the US into Mexico--but 2,000/day? That's 750,000 guns/year.


Then the story reveals Part Two--Mexican corruption:

Corrupt customs officials help smuggle weapons into Mexico, earning as much as $1 million for large shipments, police here say. ...

...and plays fast-and-loose with rhetoric:

The arms traffickers have left Mexico awash in AK-47s, pistols, telescope sighting devices, grenades, grenade launchers and high-powered ammunition, such as the so-called cop-killer bullets believed to be able to penetrate bulletproof vests.

Umnnnhhh....people..."cop-killer" bullets are regular AK-47 and AR-15 ammunition. They are high-powered rifles, and although there are vests which can stop them, those vests are not commonly issued, nor used, by civilian police agencies.

In addition, that stuff about "grenades and grenade launchers" is....ummmm...interesting. You can attend a lot of gun shows and never see live grenades for sale.

...law enforcement officers on both sides of the border have never seen anything like the flood of guns now surging into Mexico. The increase has been stoked by the cartel war and by the ease of buying high-powered weapons since the U.S. assault weapons ban was not renewed in 2004, William Newell, a special agent in charge of the ATF's Phoenix office, said in an interview.

Authorities have tracked smugglers who bought dozens of weapons at various shows in a single weekend.

That's where the numbers just don't add up. Earlier, the report says "2,000 guns per day." Most gun shows run only for 3 days--Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Multiply, folks: that implies that 14,000 weapons are purchased--just under 5,000 PER DAY--at "gun shows."

I don't think so.

So what else is at play here? How about major-league gun-running--supplied by PRChina (which has already been caught shipping AK-47's to Los Angeles), or Eastern European small-arms exporters?

Or maybe from South America? Central America?

Mexican government arms-seizure figures show a dramatic shift in the final destination of smuggled weapons. Once largely centered in border states, the arms market appears to be concentrating in Michoacan, the home state of Mexican President Felipe Calderon and a favorite of tourists who flock there for the annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies. In the first 10 months of 2007, more than 1,200 weapons were seized in Michoacan, four times as many as were seized in border states such as Baja California and Chihuahua.

Michoacan is a lot closer to Central America than to the US, which means it's a lot closer to the homes of most large drug cartels. The Post's article implies that the guns found here are from "US gun shows," but the implication is not the same as the documentation.

So it's a nice article. There are problems.

But Mexico's corruption (which is legendary, not just anecdotal), and the alleged volume of weapons, do not irrefutably pin the tail on the "gun show" monkey.

1 comment:

Billiam said...

Dad, with the left and the other anti-2nd Amendment crowd, as well as the UN, facts do NOT, nor have they ever, mattered. They'll twist anything they can, or simply make it up as they won't be challenged, to make their case. We've seen this time and time again. They'll stop at nothing to take down the 2nd Amendment. Nothing.