Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

GAO Reports On Arms Trafficking In Mexico

Friday, June 19, 2009

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this week entitled, "Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Arms Trafficking to Mexico Face Planning and Coordination Challenges." 

Among other things, the report asserts that Mexican officials consider illicit firearms the number one crime problem affecting their country's security; that about 87 percent of firearms seized in Mexico and traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) in the last five years originated in the United States; and that these firearms are increasingly more powerful and lethal, including "high-caliber and high-powered" AK-47 and AR-15 type semi-automatic rifles. The report further contends that the country's law enforcement agencies are insufficiently organized, and that Mexico has a history of corruption at the federal, state and local levels. 

With regard to the "87 percent" statistic, the report's figures make clear that BATFE only traces a fraction of the guns seized.  Those firearms are not selected randomly, but are likely selected because they are the guns most likely to have come from the U.S.  Trace data reveals nothing about the large number of guns that are not traced. 

The report also states "According to U.S. and Mexican government officials, these firearms have been increasingly more powerful and lethal in recent years.  For example, many of these firearms are high-caliber and high-powered, such as AK and AR-15 type semiautomatic rifles."  The report, however, states that about 25 percent of firearms traced were of that type, which works out to only eight percent of all firearms seized.  Also, the report does not indicate what percentage of murders is committed with various types of firearms, but it does note, "The majority of the casualties have been individuals involved in the drug trade in some way." 

The report further states that, "The U.S. government faces several significant challenges in combating illicit sales of firearms in the United States and stemming their flow into Mexico." These include "restrictions on collecting and reporting information on firearms purchases, a lack of required background checks for private firearms sales, and limitations on reporting requirements for multiple sales" and even the fact that the U.S. government is prohibited by law from maintaining a national registry of firearms. 

But as we know, the gun control measures indicated would not be effective against purchasers who can pass instant background checks.  As the report noted,
"Firearms [purchases] at gun shops and pawn shops for trafficking to Mexico are usually made by 'straw purchasers,' according to law enforcement officials. These straw purchasers are individuals with clean records who can be expected to pass the required background check and who are paid by drug cartel representatives or middlemen to purchase certain guns from gun shops." 

Finally, the report noted that, "Another significant challenge facing U.S. efforts to assist Mexico is corruption among some Mexican government entities. Government officials acknowledge fully implementing these reforms will take considerable time, and may take years to affect comprehensive change." And, "According to Mexican government officials, corruption pervades all levels of Mexican law enforcement -- federal, state, and local. For example, some high ranking members of federal law enforcement have been implicated in corruption investigations, and some high publicity kidnapping and murder cases have involved corrupt federal law enforcement officials."

Obviously, Mexico has a huge problem with rampant corruption that clearly cannot be blamed on the U.S.  At the same time, Mexico has extremely prohibitive gun laws, yet has far worse crime than the U.S.  

More evidence of what is truly happening in Mexico was brought out in a series of hearings held earlier this year.  During those hearings, three representatives of U.S. law enforcement, one each from BATFE, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), made it clear that the increase in violence in Mexico is being misinterpreted by the media and politicians.  They testified that the increase in violence is a direct result of the actions taken by Mexican President Felipe Calderon to take on the cartels.  The cartels, they testified, are being pressured more than ever before and are fighting back in desperation, resulting in casualties. (If you wish to view the hearings, please use the following links:  House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere: "Guns, Drugs and Violence: The Merida Initiative and the Challenge in Mexico" , and Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs: "Law Enforcement Responses to Mexican Drug Cartels"

For American gun owners, the battle will be to make sure that politicians who see an opportunity to advance their gun ban agenda do not use Mexico as an excuse to  sacrifice our Second Amendment rights.

Report on arms smuggling to Mexico called incomplete
Los Angeles Times

TRENDING NOW
Canada, Six Months from “Confiscation Day”

News  

Monday, November 8, 2021

Canada, Six Months from “Confiscation Day”

In early 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his so-called “assault weapon” ban along with a temporary amnesty period that allows the owners of newly-banned firearms to possess their property without incurring criminal liability. Canadians affected ...

Senator Grassley Blocks Gun Control on Senate Floor

News  

Friday, December 3, 2021

Senator Grassley Blocks Gun Control on Senate Floor

On December 2, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) attempted and failed to pass H.R. 8, the dangerously flawed, so-called “universal” background check bill.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf Vetoes Constitutional Carry

Friday, December 3, 2021

Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf Vetoes Constitutional Carry

Anti-gun Democrat Governor Tom Wolf kept his promise and vetoed Senate Bill 565 on Thursday. 

Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition

News  

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition

The Biden Administration’s Department of State announced that it will soon prohibit the importation of Russian ammunition into the United States. According to a release on the Department of State’s website, “[n]ew and pending permit applications ...

Ohio: House Passes Constitutional Carry

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Ohio: House Passes Constitutional Carry

Today, the House of Representatives voted 60-32 to pass House Bill 227, the constitutional carry bill. It will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

The Right to Bear Arms Gets Its Day in Court

News  

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Right to Bear Arms Gets Its Day in Court

November 3 was a historic day for constitutional rights in the United States, as the U.S. Supreme Court delved into a detailed and sophisticated exploration of the meaning and scope of the Second Amendment’s right ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Sixth Circuit Bails-Out ATF

News  

Monday, December 6, 2021

Sixth Circuit Bails-Out ATF

Last week, the Sixth Circuit failed to achieve the majority necessary to correct the ATF’s shifting classifications of bump stocks as “machine guns.”

New Jersey:  State Senate Wants to Ban the Second Amendment in Private Homes

Monday, December 6, 2021

New Jersey: State Senate Wants to Ban the Second Amendment in Private Homes

Anti-gun New Jersey politicians have never been bashful about slapping restrictions on Second Amendment rights in the Garden State. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.