Friday, January 14, 2011

Connecting the dots, raising questions about guns in Mexico

The Mexican government says over 15,000 people died there last year from increasingly violent drug cartels. Some in the U.S. government have charged firearms smuggled from our border states into Mexico are a prime factor in the escalating blood shed.

But as rhetoric targeting U.S. gun sellers ratchets up, the government may be downplaying the role of non-U.S. arms suppliers as it sells us on the gun store angle. And questions are being raised about the practices of U.S. agents empowered to police firearms trafficking.

Let's try to connect some dots as we know them. Admittedly, more dots are needed to provide a clear image of what's going on when it comes to arms, smuggling, and Mexican cartels.

David Codrea at Gun Rights Examiner has a series of writings about what he now dubs "Project Gunwalker." The latest, entitled "Does Texas gun shop tie in with ‘Project Gunwalker’? , links to a Houston TV news story  where a prominent Texas attorney alleges employees of a licensed firearms retailer were encouraged by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to make gun sales to buyers even when buyers raised store employees' suspicions.

The Fox 26 report was in response to a December story in the Washington Post. In its story tying U.S. guns to Mexican crime, the Post reported guns illegally smuggled from U.S. border states are a prime source of arms fueling Mexican violence.

Undoubtably, some guns from the U.S. are making their way south. But officials who want us to believe small retail purchases of guns are the primary source of cartel armament tax our ability to reason.

The same Washington Post that last month targeted Texas guns documented another source for cartel arms only five months earlier. In July, the Post reported large numbers of guns and grenades have gone missing from military arsenals in Central America.

How massive is the supply of looted Central American arms? Huge, according to the Post's July 17th story which included a stunning statement regarding just one Central American country:

"An investigation by Guatemala's El PeriĆ³dico newspaper found that as many as 27,000 military weapons, including an unknown number of grenades, may have been illegally sold or stolen in recent years."

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