You and I Can't Buy the Guns Mexican Cartels Own
The Administration is Not Dealing Straight With Us on Mexico's Gun Problemhttp://www.gunnewsdaily.com/rw807.html
March 1 2009
set things straight right up front. Yes, some guns are being smuggled
into Mexico from the U.S. Most are handguns. But, handguns are being
illegally trafficked from state to state and from the U.S. to Canada.
It should come as no surprise that guns are smuggled into Mexico. But,
the problem being portrayed by the U.S. media and our government is not
as it seems. You see, Mexico doesn't allow ownership of most firearms,
so ordinary Mexican people seeking self-protection will find a way to
get them into Mexico. As for the drug cartels operating in the border
towns along the U.S., they have other sources for their weapons and
have become the prime supplier within Mexico.
I worked in Mexico
in a border town for about five years. It was far enough from San Diego
County in the Sonora Desert of Mexico that commuting several hundred
miles daily was impossible. So, for a few years I lived in the city and
commuted home periodically on some weekends. As crime grew out of
control, I eventually moved into a place on the U.S. side and commuted
daily in and out of Mexico for my own safety.
I stayed in Mexico
for a Mexican holiday my first year. I don't recall the holiday.
Normally, I would leave Mexico for a holiday, but it was in the middle
of the week and one day was not long enough to come home. All I know is
that on that particular Mexican holiday, Mexicans love to fire guns
into the air. That evening as I sat on the balcony of my hotel, the gun
fire that erupted in celebration was quite unbelievable. It was so
intense I backed off the balcony and watched the festivities from a
couple three feet in the room. We're talking war-like firing of
weapons, it was that intense.
As I listened that night to the
gun fire, I was somewhat shocked at the amount of fully automatic gun
fire. It wasn't sporadic. It was continuous throughout the city. For a
country that bans guns I thought, how in the world did they get their
hands on all these full-auto weapons? Clearly what sounded like M16
fire was prolific along with 7.62 x 39 AK autos with a smattering of
smaller caliber full-autos, most likely 9mm. Gun fire can be heard in
most American cities on New Years, but I've never heard full-auto
weapons being fired, at least not in the San Diego area.
next day I went into work and sat down with a trusted senior Mexican
manager. I looked at him and said, "I thought guns were illegal in
Mexico." He chuckled and said, "So you stayed in town last night?" As
the conversation progressed, it became clear that guns are as common in
Mexico as tamales at Christmas. Everyone he knows, including himself,
own at least one gun. And, it matters not whether it's a semi-auto or
fully automatic, they're all illegal, so why stop with semi-autos?
Though clearly illegal in the states in most instances, a lot of
Mexicans have more firepower in terms of military weapons than we can
only dream of owning here.
As time went on, parties in the city
at middle class Mexican homes become a way of life. Most Mexican
managers in the plant knew I was a gun wonk. As it turns out, they
couldn't wait to invite me over to their place on a Friday night to
show me their collection. Semi-autos, some very high-end Sigs and other
European handguns were not uncommon along with piles of old revolvers.
I thought I had seen everything in the states, but in Mexico it's not
uncommon for people to own full-auto military rifles. Everything from
an M16, UZI machine pistols and the most popular, select-fire AK47
military rifles. These are not the so-called "assault weapons" you can
buy at the local gun shop in the U.S., but full select-fire
military-issue rifles. Now, I know you want to know and are dying to
ask; Did I see any U.S. military-issue weapons stolen from the U.S.
military? Not a single one was marked with U.S. military markings.
Everything was marked with additional foreign markings on the receiver,
including M16 rifles, or they had nothing at all. I saw firearms
manufactured in Europe, China, Russia and South America along with U.S.
manufactured weapons. I saw rifles that looked familiar with no place
of manufacture, no serial number or manufacturer's logo. The
information was not removed, it was never there to begin with. I can
only assume they came from illegal arms manufacturers in India or
Pakistan that produce copies of weapons. It was obvious that none of
these firearms came from a U.S. gun shop in Tucson or San Diego. You
couldn't buy them from a gun shop in the states if you tried.
seems Mexicans have a rich heritage of firearms ownership prior to the
ban in 1968. Despite the laws against owning them, they ignore it. Most
Mexicans will say they need it for personal protection of themselves
and their family. The other reason is they don't trust the government
or local law enforcement. If they have to use it in their home for
self-defense, whether they end up in jail is all dependent on how much
money they can come up with, or who they know in the government. It
also depends on who they shoot. But, given the alternative with high
crime rates, most middle class Mexicans willingly and without
reservations take the risk. Despite being able to own .22 caliber
pistols or rifles, Mexican law requires them to be stored at an
approved firing range. Where's the firing range I asked many times? No
one knew of one. Where's the gun stores in town to buy legal guns? Gun
stores? No one ever recalled seeing one anywhere in Mexico, let alone
their city. I'm sure somewhere, maybe in Mexico City you might be able
to buy a gun, but not in this city of almost 1.5 million residents. And
the gun traffickers know it.
Where do ordinary Mexicans get
their weapons? Most buy them from a 'friend' or a friend of a friend or
cousin or uncle. Where the friend gets them is not talked about. But,
it seems that drug cartels in Mexico are heavily involved in gun
trafficking of military weapons and related hardware. And, who are
these ordinary Mexicans? They range from people who work in factories
as managers and senior managers, government workers, doctors, dentists
and anyone with the financial means to buy a firearm. I even ran into a
couple of government bureaucrats, one a lawyer for the federal
government who owns firearms. He confirmed that people he knew in the
government, some very highly ranked bureaucrats and politicians all own
illegal firearms. The other works for the Mexican equivalent of the
IRS. It's a way of life in Mexico. It seemed to me that you aren't in
the 'in-crowd' in Mexico unless you own at least one firearm. I was
amazed at the whole thing after believing for years that gun ownership
in Mexico was non-existent. That is hardly the case.
flies in the face of news articles published by the U.S. media in the
last week or two. Mexico's gun problems are a direct result of gun
runners buying "assault weapons" in the U.S. and taking them into
Mexico to arm drug cartels, says the U.S. media and government. That is
a bunch of government and media nonsense. The cartels aren't arming
themselves from U.S. gun stores with semi-auto AR15 and AK47 rifles.
They've moved on up. Not to completely dismiss arms moving into Mexico
from the U.S., but it is not as it seems when the U.S. media tells the
story. The firearms moving across the border are semi-auto rifles and
handguns sold to middle class or wealthy Mexicans seeking personal
protection from criminals that have no connections in Mexico with gun