You know that bumper stick “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns”? It’s clear what message the slogan’s supposed to convey: if you restrict citizens’ legal right to keep and bear arms they will be at the mercy of armed criminals. So don’t do it, mK? But there’s more to it than that. How about this: if the government outlaws gun ownership, legal gun owners become outlaws. With all the damage to the rule of law that criminalization creates. To wit: “In the black market, it’s very easy to acquire mostly American-made weapons here in our country,” embattled Mexican Alex LeBaron tells npr.org. “But through the legal process it’s … very complex and expensive . . .
A citizen who wants a permit for a weapon must apply to the Mexican military — a process that can cost upward of $10,000. Then they pay to have the permit renewed annually. The military further regulates the caliber of weapon, how many guns a person can own, how much ammunition they can buy each month, and where in the country they can take the weapon.
The government abolished the last private gun store in 1995. Today, the only legal gun store in the country is in Mexico City, guarded and operated by the armed forces.
“In Mexico, the laws effectively don’t allow you to purchase weapons,” says Dr. Oscar Urrutia Beall, a longtime member of the Paquime Shooting Club. “There are some weapons they sell in Mexico City, but the paperwork is difficult. Here, they won’t let us buy a gun, but they let us own a gun. It’s an incongruity, a failed law.”
Now there’s one gun show loophole every freedom-loving American should support—especially when you read of the violence and terror that PSC members face in their day-to-day lives. And lets add John Burnett to the list of proto pro-gun patriots—even though the NPR correspondent couldn’t resist taking a sideways swipe at Mexico’s armed self-defenders.
If these three responses are any guide, the LeBarons’ crusade to revise gun laws is at odds with a certain cultural ambivalence toward firearms, at least among law-abiding Mexican citizens.
Alex LeBaron is undeterred. “I have to stress very strongly that if the federal government, the state government or the local government cannot protect you from the cartels or any criminal groups, we should be able to protect ourselves. That’s the bottom line,” he says.
Asked if the community is openly flouting federal gun laws, he replies: “Yes. We have to.”
The Mexican secretary of National Defense, charged with enforcing gun laws, declined to comment for this story.
The director of a pro-gun website called Mexico Armado said there is no popular movement at the moment to liberalize the nation’s gun laws. Perhaps, he added, that’s because anybody who wants a weapon in Mexico — be they a good guy or a bad guy — has no problem getting one.
Mañana. Meanwhile, it must be said: this is the most pro-gun rights piece I’ve ever seen/heard from the left-leaning taxpayer-funded media machine. NPR is to be commended for reporting the truth about guns (and those who would wield them for their own protection) in Mexico. Now if they could just apply these lessons to, say, Chicago . . .