Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Steele, Assault Weapons, Mexico

In April, 2008, ABC News' Brian Ross and Esposito found

U.S. gun stores and gun shows are the source of more than 90 percent of the weapons being used by Mexico's ruthless drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

"It's a war going on in Mexico, and these types of firearms are the weapons of war for them," said Bill Newell, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division of the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has primary law enforcement jurisdiction for investigating gun trafficking to Mexico.

"It's virtually impossible to buy a firearm in Mexico as a private citizen, so this country is where they come," said Newell.

But U.S. efforts to stop the smuggling of tens of thousands of guns to Mexico, including high-powered assault weapons, have been hampered by lenient American gun laws and the Bush administration's failure to give priority to anti-gun smuggling efforts....

U.S. and Mexican officials say they have traced most of the thousands of high-powered weapons seized from the drug cartels to gun dealers in Texas, California and Arizona.


And the problem is only getting worse. On January 15, 2009, Shannon O'Neil, a Douglas Dillon fellow for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations who blogs at www.LatIntelligence.com, noted

There are about 6,650 Federal Firearms Licensees in this area, and the border is 2,000 mile long, meaning that there are 3.3 gun shops per mile (I said 3 per mile in the article). If we include all the shops in border states (not just near the border), the number rises to 9,161 locations....

The U.S. government recognizes that U.S.-purchased weapons are fueling Mexico’s violence. In fact, ATF acting director Michael Sullivan said last year that investigators have traced 90 to 95 percent of weapons seized in Mexico to the United States.


Currently, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms assigns approximately 200 agents to monitor the licensed gun dealerships along the Mexican border. By contrast to the ease with which military-style weapons can be purchased in the U.S.A., "Mexican civilians must get approval from the military to buy guns and they cannot own large-caliber rifles or high-powered pistols, which are considered military weapons," according to The New York Times.

And the cartels are moving much of their operations northward. With its growing Hispanic population and access to major highways and population centers, Atlanta, Georgia now is a major storage center for marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines smuggled in from Mexico. They then are moved to distribution operations in methamphetamine, Carolinas, Tennessee, the Mid-Atlantic, New York and New England, reports USA Today.

So what in the name of pandering to the NRA and Rush Limbaugh is Michael Steele sending this e-mail message to right-wing supporters, including one from something called the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner?:

The Obama Administration has revealed its intention to reinstate the so-called "assault" gun ban -- Step One of their plan to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

Having already taken advantage of our country's current economic woes to speed the largest, most pork-laden spending spree in history through the Democrat-controlled Congress, the Obama team is again using fear tactics to impose bad policy.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced his desire to once again deny law abiding Americans their 2nd Amendment rights, using the ongoing violence in Mexico as justification.


Perhaps Michael Steele should be asked why he condones the distribution of over 500 metric tons of cocaine, 15,500 metric tons of marijuana, 18 metric tons of heroin, and a still unknown amount of methamphetamines which make their way through Mexico into the United States. Or why he condones the proliferation of high-powered weapons along the Mexican border. Or why he condones murder and rape on American soil in the name of a distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment.

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