Mexican officials frequently lecture the U.S. about our supposedly loose gun laws that are blamed for spreading anarchy south of our borders. Mexican President Filipe Calderon has admitted that his country is experiencing a “gradual and growing disintegration of public and governmental institutions.”
Never having met an excuse for gun control that they did not like, officials in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has set up computer terminals in American consulate offices throughout Mexico. Somehow, violating the privacy of American gun owners is supposed to help control crime in a corrupt and chaotic Mexico. Yeah, right.
But neither the Mexican lecturing nor the BATFE’s sharing of data on American gun owners will make one whit of difference. The type of gun control that Mexico is clamoring for sounds quite familiar to American gun owners. We have heard politicians in U.S. jurisdictions with draconian gun control (Washington, DC, for example) try to shift the blame for their high violent crime rates to guns brought in from elsewhere.
District of Columbia officials like to blame Virginia’s “loose” gun laws for the District’s crime woes. Unmentioned is the much lower (about 100 times lower) crime rate in neighboring Fairfax County with its population of nearly twice that of our nation’s crime capital.
Mexico, it turns out, has very similar gun laws to those in the District of Columbia (after the Supreme Court overturned their handgun ban). And the results are just as disastrous.
The same kind of scheme is employed in both Washington, D.C. and in Mexico. The post-ban D.C. law allows handgun ownership as well as non-semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Until recently, the handgun ownership that was allowed was a joke—no semi-automatics. Just like Mexico. A licensing scheme is an additional major obstacle for gun ownership in D.C.
In Mexico, ownership is subject to the police power (the same clinker that is in the Illinois constitution). On top of that, just try to get a license to legally own a gun. New York City may have given the Mexicans lessons on this. Licensing can easily produce the same result as an outright ban.
Since the Mexican government has imposed their version of gun control even longer than has Washington, it is not surprising that crime is worse in Mexico. Much worse. Raging gun battles between rival drug gangs surge through the streets of Mexican cities and towns—the thugs having no regard for innocent bystanders. The bystanders are helpless because by law, they have no guns (even at home). Alternately, cops and journalists are picked off when they don’t do what they are told by the traffickers. Becoming a police chief who is not on the take is a very gutsy thing to do.
The drug cartels are in effect conducting a civil war aimed at controlling the government for the enhancement of their “business.” Mexican border towns from Nuevo Laredo to Tijuana are among the locales that have been scenes in this civil war. But it does not stop in Mexico. There have been U.S. border incursions by armed, organized cartel units sometimes disguised as Mexican soldiers.
We cannot do much about Mexico’s laws, although it is tempting to return the favor of their elites who lecture us about our gun laws. But we can do something about U.S. politicians who are openly anti-self defense, or who do nothing to remove our dangerous gun control laws that only benefit criminals (the same as they do in Mexico). We can expose them all.
Larry Pratt is the Executive Director for Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 300,000 members. GOA is located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151 and at www.gunowners.org on the web.