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Will Mexico's drug war lead to tighter gun control laws in U.S.?

April 1, 2009 | 10:50 am

Gun_opt-1 Hunters, target shooters and general gun owners: Try to imagine living in a country that has only one gun store. It's run by the army,  and buyers, who often wait months before receiving a permit, have to prove first that they make an honest living.

They must also undergo a psychological exam. The number of guns one can own is restricted. Ammunition sales are limited. Areas where guns can be carried are severely restricted. Selling guns to another person requires gobs of red tape.

That country is Mexico.

The Arizona Republic today ran a story on Mexico's gun-control laws, among the strictest in the world, and quoted a Mexican gun shopper as saying, "If the United States had a system like ours, we wouldn't have so many problems here in Mexico."

Agustin Villordo was referring, of course, to the heavily armed drug cartels, whose weapons come primarily from the U.S. And his statement surely will cause U.S. citizens -- who cherish their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms as they cherish their freedom --  to collectively cringe.

On Thursday, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be in Mexico City to discuss ways to prevent smuggling weapons into Mexico. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said recently that "it is necessary to reduce the sale of weapons, particularly of high-power weapons, in the United States."

(That pitter-patter of feet you hear is the sound of U.S. citizens running to the nearest gun store to purchase weapons before the gun-control screws are tightened on this side of the border.)


To be sure, gun sales in the U.S. will remain brisk during the coming months. Citizens and pro-gun groups anticipate changes anyway, under the new administration. Now they're concerned about a playing-off-of-fear factor related to the bloody violence unleashed almost daily by cartel members against each other in Mexico.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today published an Op-Ed piece by former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr on gun control. Barr wrote: "After enhancing their majorities in the House and Senate, and fresh from grabbing the brass ring at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Democratic leaders in Washington and their anti-gun counterparts in the Brady Campaign and elsewhere are energized and actively starting to push their anti-gun agenda."

Barr continued: "If the Obama administration -- like its predecessor --  was truly serious about stemming whatever the flow of firearms from the United States to Mexico might be (the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms claims 90% of guns used in shootings in Mexico come from the U.S., but it has offered no proof),  it could do so easily by simply enforcing and more closely monitoring our immigration and existing firearms laws."

And Barr concluded: "The gun-control crowd is pushing its radical agenda on these and many other fronts; and law-abiding Americans had better open their eyes to the clever ways in which they are plying their trade in the courts, the Congress and international forums. Much is at stake."

So it seems.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo (top): A revolver. Credit: Associated Press

Photo (bottom): Weapons captured in a raid last year by Mexican authorities engaged in a war against drug cartels. Credit: Associated Press