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You and I Can't Buy the Guns Mexican Cartels Own
The Administration is Not Dealing Straight With Us on Mexico's Gun Problem
Ralph Weller March 1 2009
Let's 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.
The 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.