Report: U.S. needs to stop flow of guns into Mexico.

The United States must do more to stop the flow…

The United States must do more to stop the flow of assault weapons across the Mexican border, which has militarized the conflict occurring between the government of President Felipe Calderon and rival drug trafficking organizations, two border security experts argued today.

“Since the Calderon administration has taken office, you have around 20,000 homicides that have occurred, many of those from U.S. weapons,” said Dr. David Shirk, Director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of California, San Diego, during a conference call on border security arranged by the Immigration Policy Center. “It’s really hard to deal honestly with Mexico and say we want you to help us continue this effort but we’re not going to stop arming the people that you’re fighting by clapping down a little bit more on our own southbound flow of guns.”

Shirk noted that there’s a tendency to find more higher-powered, assault-like weaponry within the Eastern corridor of Mexico as opposed to Mexico’s Baja, California, in the West. While there are various reasons why this variance occurs between East and West Mexico, U.S. state gun laws play a role, Shirk said. He pointed to the state of California’s much stricter gun laws, especially on assault-like weapons, as a reason why Western Mexico is less violent than its Eastern territories. Shirk also said this disparity “speak[s] strongly in favor of the remarks” Calderon made during his visit to the United States at the end of May.

During his address to a joint-session of Congress, Calderon urged lawmakers to reinstate the assault weapon ban and argued that the rise in gun violence seen in Mexico began when the ban was lifted in 2004, according to Reuters.

“We have seized 75,000 guns and assault weapons in Mexico over the last three years,” Calderon said. “More than 80 percent of those we have been able to trace came from the United States.”

Jennifer Bernal-Garcia, a researcher at the Center for New American Security, said there are simple things the United States could do to help stymie the flow of guns into Mexico. One is signing the Inter-American Convention Against Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), which was adopted by the Organization of American States in 1997. President Clinton signed the treaty but the Senate chose not to ratify it. CIFTA, Bernal-Garcia said, would make it easier to trace illegally manufactured weapons.

The issue, however, is highly contentious because of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. In a statement more than a year ago, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and Chief Lobbyist Chris Cox said in a statement that the anti-gun advocates would use the CIFTA “to attack gun ownership in the U.S. Therefore, the NRA will continue to vigorously oppose any international effort to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding American gun owners.”

Shirk believes many Americans stand on common ground when it comes to limiting access to assault weapons.

“Most Americans don’t want to have those kinds of weapons in the hands of Mexican drug traffickers, kids in the schools like Columbine, but there’s a very powerful gun lobby that conflates reasonable Second Amendment gun rights… with these high-powered and more dangerous weapons that even many police associations in the United States feel should not be on the streets,” Shirk said

Source: Matthew Harwood for Security Management.

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  • Dann

    The author, Matthew Harwood, needs to check his facts before re-printing data and info that have been proven to be false and inaccurate:

    At least check your facts as thoroughly as a high school sophomore writing a research paper – geeessh!!

  • If passing more laws and taking more rights away from law abiding citizens here in the US will solve the problems in Mexico then why in the hell don’t we just pass a law making crime illegal and solve all the problems. One makes just as much sense as the other. W

  • Rick

    BS! Why would any cartel go through the instant check that any strawbuyer would have to undergo? Better yet, why would they pay the HUGELY INFLATED PRICES for guns from the US when they can get the same things almost free from those who they get their drugs drug base from?? Too bad those who read this and fall for it don’t use their common sense more often.

  • Tom

    I’m really tired of these myths. The “80%” figure has been debunked over and over, yet people still cite it like it’s legitimate. Police in general don’t favor stricter gun control, and anyone with law enforcement background will tell you most officers would rather have citizens protecting themselves in the first place.

    I love that asinine jab at the “gun lobby” which doesn’t fall into the top 50 in campaign contributions during election cycles and nets about $2 billion a year in revenue. Compared to the film and music industries, automotive industry and any number of other money makers the gun industry is politically insignificant. Except when it comes to voters, that is.

    Shirk’s whole last paragraph is drivel. Law enforcement in the US by and large do *not* support additional gun control because they know full well it doesn’t work. As someone with police background, I can tell you plainly that most officers support citizens defending themselves.

    The line about Columbine is downright shameful, that anyone could use such a tragedy (where the shooters used illegally acquired and modified weapons) as a scapegoat for a political agenda.

    Anyone truly interested in the real numbers should take a look at this PDF from, which provides extensive citations and sources (unlike our esteemed anti-gun groups).

  • jake

    What a joke! Some how Caulderon blames us for his problems with the cartels. There is no way all the weapons come from the states. I think mexico needs to look to its own corrupt police and military. I guess its easy to point the finger at someone else than take responsibility. Why dont they just go and arrest the heads of the cartels? if something like this happened in the states we would use specops to hunt them down! Sounds like a excuse for the obama to have a reason to convince congress/senate to enact the assualt weapon ban.

  • Jon

    Yeah let’s limit access to weapons here in America so that maybe we can lower violence rates in Mexico!

    Not exactly logical that.

  • This is really unbelievable! We, the law-abiding, gun-owning citizens of the U.S., are responsible for Mexican gun battles between rival drug cartels? Calderon is merely a puppet and a fraud. How could anyone take this sort of logic seriously? The Mexican government is a bad joke. Maybe the U.S. needs to start blaming our troubles on Canada!! All I can advise here is to join the NRA.