Ever since I began covering the gun violence in Mexico, I’ve been banging on about two elements of the conflagration. First, the drug thugs are armed with weapons funneled from U.S. government-approved law enforcement and military sales (not Bob’s Gun Store). Second, arming the Mexican populace is the only possible “solution” to the cartels’ reign of terror . . .
The first point was pretty obvious, what with the cartels throwing grenades at each other and spraying rivals with lead from fully automatic rifles (not commonly available stateside). As I reported yesterday, the mainstream press is finally starting to “get it”—although I wouldn’t expect a CBS investigation into U.S. military sales to Mexico anytime soon.
And now the second point—the importance of arming Mexican civilians—is finally getting some play, albeit buried in this AP report about a “just another day at the office” execution in Acapulco:
The mutilated body of a man was found inside the trunk of a vehicle along a federal highway, police said on Monday. Officials also reported finding the bullet-riddled body of a 20-year-old man with his feet and hands tied in a residential neighborhood. Police gave no motives or identities of the men killed.
Ramon Almonte, the Guerrero state police chief, said on Monday he will ask the federal congress to make it easier for common citizens to get permits for weapons to defend themselves.
Almonte’s brother was killed on Jan. 1 in a rural town in Guerrero by unidentified gunmen. The state has been plagued by such executions.
“When you fight someone and at least you have a ‘piece,’ the person who is attacking you might think twice,” Almonte said. “We cannot go on the way we are.”
Mexicans have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Article 10 of the 1857 document states:
Todo hombre tiene derecho de poseer y portar armas para su seguridad y legítima defensa. La ley señalará cuáles son las prohibidas y la pena en que incurren los que las portaren.
The only limitation, then, is the type of weapons allowed. In theory. In practice, the Mexican government shuttered all the country’s gun shops and vested sole gun and (crucially) ammunition sales with the military. The process of obtaining a new firearm or bullets for an existing gun is extremely difficult. And expensive.
At present, Mexico’s constitution allows citizens to have one or two low-caliber guns in their homes, but they must get a permit from the Defense Department and the process is complicated. Almonte did not give specifics on how he would make it easier.
“Having a weapon should be a right, because the bad guys are few and we, the good guys, are many, so we can’t allow ourselves to be held hostage by the few,” Almonte said.
At the risk of seeming both cynical and pessimistic, how long before the cartels take out the Guerrero state police chief?
In any case, agitating for Mexican gun rights is the single most effective thing the NRA and other gun rights groups could do to counter our federal government’s effort to blame U.S. gun laws for Mexico’s horrific crime wave.
Reestablishing Mexicans’ right to armed self-defense would also save the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. And, perhaps, restore the rule of law to a country run by criminals.