Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guns in Mexico

The State Department announced new initiatives to combat arms trafficking in Latin America.  The key part of that is to trace firearms, including the use of eTrace in Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

This is all to the good, though it is hampered by national-level realities.

First, the General Accounting Office has already noted that working with Mexico on tracing is difficult because a) U.S. agencies do not work together well; and b) corruption within Mexican institutions makes it harder to develop effective relationships.

Second, gun laws in the United States are extraordinarily permissive, whereas in Mexico they are extremely restrictive.  So you can trace weapons all you like, but there will still be strong pressure for their southward movement.  Hopefully e-Trace could provide better information about precisely where guns are coming from, but that will be useful primarily as a way to crack down on the sources of those guns.  [On the other hand, see Sylvia Longmire's post about a report from the U.S. Senate, as she disagrees that it would make any difference anyway.]

In any case, it looks like pressure is building in the U.S. Congress to do something.  However, the controversy over Fast and Furious, where ATF allowed high-powered weapons to go to Mexico as a way to track them, shows how bad policy is worse than no policy.


Tambopaxi 5:02 AM  

In contrast to my attitude towards drugs (legalize them all, we're losing that war and will never win it), I think we should put the crunch on gun makers and gun suppliers and highlight their duplicity in supplying weapons to the very people we profess to be fighting in the drug wars. The hypocrisy and cowardice of various U.S. governments (including Obama's)in failing to take on the gun lobby is one of America's major shames...

On your preferred theme of immigration, Greg, I'm sure you'll read today's NYT article by Jose Antonio Vargas; it's quite a story...

Greg Weeks 7:30 AM  

For some reason I didn't feel very inspired to write about it. My first reaction was that given his name, everyone in the U.S. would simply assume he was Mexican.

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