Columnist Razvan Sibii: Stopping the "river of iron" of guns to Mexico

Four main things cross the US-Mexico border illegally: drugs, undocumented migrants, dirty money, and guns. We hear about the first two ...



Four main things cross the US-Mexico border illegally: drugs, undocumented migrants, dirty money, and guns. We hear about the first two all the time, and rarely the last two.

The government of Mexico has just given us a much needed reminder of the gun issue by prosecuting 10 US gun companies for knowingly and actively helping to arm drug cartels. The lawsuit was brought in federal court in Massachusetts, and five of the companies she names are headquartered in New England, including Smith & Wesson of Springfield.

We are misrepresented by families who illegally enter the United States (thus committing a federal offense), but we are not much bothered by the huge number of weapons that Americans have illegally supplied to cartel sociopaths. No one is calling for a border wall to be built to protect Mexico from massive American crime.

“We will never be able to know the true extent of this trafficking. But one study estimates that more than two hundred thousand firearms are smuggled across the border each year. This led Mexican law enforcement in 2020 to estimate that 2.5 million firearms had been smuggled across the border in a decade, ”writes Ioan Grillo, a Mexican-based journalist, in his book of 2021 “Blood Gun Money”.

Additionally, according to Mexicans, American arms manufacturers intentionally design and market their product to appeal to cartel killers. “Colt’s special edition .38 Super pistol is engraved with an image of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata on one side of the barrel and a phrase attributed to him on the other: ‘Better to die standing than to die. live on your knees. ‘ One of these guns was used in 2017 to assassinate famous investigative journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea, who has done her life’s work to uncover corruption, drug trafficking rings and human rights abuses ”, indicates the complaint filed by the Mexican government two weeks since.

“Fun” fact: During the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920, the revolutionary peasants of Zapata and the Mexican government forces were armed with American rifles. The current “war on drugs” is not the United States’ first foray into unbridled arms trafficking.

In his book, Grillo details the process by which guns fall off the map somewhere in America only to reappear in the hands of Mexican drug traffickers. The first step is the purchase of arms by US citizens either at virtually unregulated “gun shows” or from one of the country’s more than 100,000 licensed arms dealers. Then the weapons are smuggled into Mexico, often in the same vehicles that brought the drugs.

When the “straw buyer” (that is, the person who pretends to buy weapons for himself but sells them or “loses” them) gets caught, he is unlikely to be caught. go to jail because of the mild directives. And gunmakers, those who make money selling guns that throw up immense numbers of bullets in seconds, are protected by law against civil liability claims filed by victims of violence. army.

America does not have a federal law banning arms trafficking per se. But it has a law prohibiting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) or the FBI from establishing a centralized database of U.S. firearms, gun owners, or gun transactions. fire, which investigates the origins of a weapon used in an extremely difficult massacre.

How is it possible? We all know the answer: the Second Amendment, the NRA, the Republican Party, American “gun culture”.

The “river of iron” of American cannons does not flow only to Mexico. It is also flocking to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where guns sold by Texas claim victims for hundreds of thousands of families who abandon their homes and seek refuge in the United States. And he’s headed for Colombia, where government troops and rebel groups have long wielded American weapons.

What if Congress actually changed the law to allow universal background checks, a national registry of gun transactions, and an assault-style gun ban? Would cartels, gangs and guerrillas stop terrorizing people and turning them into desperate refugees?

“You might say, ‘Well, they’re going to get [the guns] anywhere ”, but I think the abundance of weapons is important. Every criminal in Mexico has an AK-47, an AR-15, and they have an endless supply of bullets. Mexico has serious problems beyond the issue of guns. There is enormous corruption and a fundamental failure to enforce the law in Mexico, ”Grillo told me in a telephone interview.

“But they could overcome this situation if it weren’t for this huge river of gun iron. You see a negative feedback circle where the cops are outnumbered by the criminals so that the cops are easily overpowered and intimidated and bought off by the criminals. Thus, the criminals become more powerful. But you could have a positive feedback circle if the criminals had fewer guns and the police were able to get the upper hand and then become less corrupt, ”Grillo said.

We are a powerful contributor to the supply of undocumented immigration as we flood Mexico and Central America with illegal weapons and drug money. And we are contributing powerfully to the demand when we maintain an economy that depends on the work of undocumented migrants. And then we turn around and ask innocently, “Why can’t these people stay in their own country?” ”

Razvan Sibii is a senior lecturer in journalism at UMass Amherst. He writes a monthly column on immigration and incarceration. He can be contacted at razvan@umass.edu.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Columnist Razvan Sibii: Stopping the "river of iron" of guns to Mexico
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