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Multiple Guns
During the debate in the Senate on tougher gun laws, the NRA's defense of straw purchasers gave the lie to their feigned interest in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. While Democrats sought to crack down on such illegal gun trafficking, the NRA sought instead to water down the law. The gunmakers, of course, remained silent, allowing their NRA heat shield to take all the hits on their behalf.

It looks as if someone hasn't forgotten gun dealers, however, and the role they play in straw purchasing and illegal trafficking of guns. ThinkProgress has an article up this week about it -- a new study on guns and gun violence in Mexico, suggesting that many gun dealers in America depend on gun trafficking to Mexico, that they would go out of business without it.

ThinkProgress explains the latest research, coming out of researchers from San Diego and Brazil, looking to explain Mexico's problem with guns and gun violence. In a situation I find reminiscent of Chicago, Mexico's gun laws are much stricter than ours, yet their society is flooded with illegal guns -- guns from America.

Researchers at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and Brazil’s Igarapé Institute put together a groundbreaking model to determine why Mexico, which possesses some of the toughest gun laws in the world, is so awash in firearms. In constructing their report — Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the U.S.-Mexico Border — the authors used the number of Federal firearms licenses (FFL) issued to sell small arms to create a demand curve, based on the distance by road from the seller to the nearest point on the U.S.-Mexico border to estimate a total demand for trafficking, both in terms of guns sold and the amount the industry took in.
The study points out how many gun dealers happen to reside in the border region with Mexico, facilitating illegal gun trafficking, and that almost all of the guns taken into Mexico come from the U.S.
U.S. and Mexican authorities recognize that a large quantity of firearms, ammunition, and explosives sold legally in the United States are trafficked illegally into Mexico, primarily through overland smuggling routes across the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border (Goodman & Marizco, 2010; Violence Policy Center, 2009). AT F efforts to trace firearms provided in Mexico have consistently found that an overwhelming proportion of firearms - as high as 90% - came to Mexico from the United States (Serrano, 2008).12 For example, a 2007 AT F trace of firearms confiscated in Mexico found that 1,805 (73.5%) of 2,455 firearms came from three of the four U.S. border states: Arizona, California, and Texas (Marks, 2006). Likewise, a Government Accountability Office (GA O) report found that of 4,000 weapons traced by AT F (from an original sample of 7,200 serial numbers sent from Mexico), some 3,480 (87%) could be traced to US dealers (McGreal, 2011). The accessibility of firearms in the border region is facilitated by the existence of an estimated 6,700 FFLs in the border region, which represent more than 12.5% of all registered gun dealers in the country.13
I find it curious how selective the emphasis is on enforcement of border security. It seems as if we can't put enough funding into the Border Patrol, and even President Obama seems unwilling to curtail his record-setting deportations of the undocumented. Where's the fire, though, for stopping American guns from slipping across the border into Mexico? Does the NRA's obsession with unfettered gun sales extend to slaughtering the people of Mexico? What about their rights, and their laws? ThinkProgress puts Republican intransigence into proper perspective: the GOP and the NRA's obstructionism kills.
This research helps further explain Mexico’s 16 percent surge in homicides seen following the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban in the U.S. The study’s authors recommend several steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of gun trafficking across the border, including increasing background checks to help identify straw purchasers. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans — including Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who denied a trafficking problem exists — blocked such a provision when voting down gun law reforms this year.
The study's recommendations don't stop with background checks, however. They point out the woeful inadequacy of the ATF on this issue, suggesting that simple bans aren't enough -- after all, what good is a law that isn't enforced? And the NRA naturally deserves blame for its ongoing efforts to undermine and defund the ATF. Yes, of course the ATF still has only an Acting Director, and their inability to enforce the law comes courtesy of the NRA. Even in the middle of averting the latest manufactured government-shutdown fiasco, Republicans had time to do the NRA's bidding and cripple the ATF some more.

So, the study's recommendations include:

  • Publish disaggregated data on gun sales: Providing data on where gun sale tax revenues are allocated by county would help to determine an approximate number of guns being sold in specific parts of the border region, thereby helping law enforcement to identify unusual activity that should be investigated.
  • Undertake more sophisticated background checks: A “clean record” is, by definition, an unhelpful criterion when identifying possible straw purchasers. The National Institute of Justice should call for research and analysis to help develop methodologies for identifying straw purchaser profiles that could be used to trigger further investigation of illicit purchases of firearms when an individual submits an application for a background check.
  • Prohibit cash transactions for gun purchases along the U.S.-Mexico border: Border states or the federal government should enact legislation to prohibit the use of cash to purchase firearms along the border. Requiring a check or credit card for all firearms and ammunition purchases with an FFL will help to ensure that funds used to buy guns at legitimate establishments will not originate from illicit business activities.
  • Support the development of a Mexican gun seizure database: While current U.S. laws prevent AT F and other government agencies from storing information on firearms and traces, Mexican authorities can and should consider establishing their own database of illegal firearms seized. Such a resource could prove useful in combatting crime domestically, but would also be an asset in working with U.S. authorities to investigate illegal gun trafficking.
  • Increase ATF-FFL Cooperation: The majority of FFLs are law-abiding businesses. They may appreciate a chance to work with the AT F to determine more effective mechanisms for government regulation, industry self-regulation, and reporting.
Given the current state of paralysis in Congress, it seems reasonable to consider what the states -- and Mexico -- can do to fight gun trafficking. The President has called for new research on gun violence, though that will only last as long as we control the White House. And I question whether gun dealers will work with law enforcement if their livelihoods depend on illegal gun sales. In theory, however, such law-abiding, responsible folks should be eager to help.

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 11:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    If we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress. – Gabrielle Giffords

    by tytalus on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 11:46:43 AM PDT

  •  They are just helping Mexicans realize how free (11+ / 0-)

    and safe guns make them. The Mexicans are receiving the guns as liberators from tyranny. It's glorious.


    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 12:05:02 PM PDT

  •  Mexico has tough gun laws. (2+ / 0-)

    Mexico's tough gun laws don't all.

    There is a lesson to be learned from this.

    Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

    by FrankRose on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 12:49:47 PM PDT

    •  A broken record says what? -nt (7+ / 0-)

      If we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress. – Gabrielle Giffords

      by tytalus on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 12:53:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps the lesson is that guns don't save lives. (7+ / 0-)

      Isn't that what you gun addicts are always professing, more guns make us safer? Yet here we are supplying them tons of guns, and all we get is more violence. Go figure.

      Also, I bet you eschew the data from nearly all industrial nations that have strict gun laws and far less gun violence than the United States. To you, of course, there is no lesson to be learned from that.

      I am pretty sure you ignore the data from England, Japan, Australia, Germany, etc ... all who have strict gun laws and less gun crime than the U.S.

      So, are you admitting that the U.S. is more like Mexico than those other countries?

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 12:58:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The USA has far more guns per capita (88.8/100) (2+ / 0-)

        than Mexico (15/100).

        Yet, Mexico's murder rate (23.7 per 100,000) is far higher than the USA (4.8 per 100,000)

        It would seem that your 'more guns= more violence' thesis is disproved by your own example.

        "England, Japan, Australia, Germany"
        They had lower rates of murder to the USA even prior to any gun laws.
        Japan has far higher rates of suicide than the US (Suicide being more than half of the number of death by firearm)

        "So, are you admitting that the U.S. is more like Mexico than those other countries?"
        No. I am pointing out that firearms aren't the problem & gun control isn't the both this diary & your comment illustrates.

        Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

        by FrankRose on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 01:26:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sticking your fingers in your ears and (6+ / 0-)

          shouting la la la la la, doesn't mean you are not complicit in this violence. I understand that to you it is all just collateral damage. As long as you guys get your fix of unrestricted access to guns.  

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 01:59:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also, I am beginning to see why you all don't want (4+ / 0-)

          to talk about suicide.

          Based on the same logic you employ in this comment, it seems that the suicide rate of Mexico and the United States appear to be correlated with the number of guns.

          U.S. 6.3/100k

          MEX .7/100k

          I am pretty sure that Australia found the number of suicides fell dramatically when they instituted the strict gun measures.

          This may be why we always see the "suicides don't count" comments. Don't want to talk about it.


          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 05:18:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ah, the joys of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose, JayFromPA

    nonrandom sample selection.

    What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

    by happymisanthropy on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 01:29:49 PM PDT

  •  Part of our rhetoric in the wars on drugs (6+ / 0-)

    and illegal immigration has been to insist that Mexico "do it's part" to enforce it's own laws, in re: drugs and immigration.
    But would we enforce our laws on firearms?
    Obviously not.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 01:39:57 PM PDT

  •  Fun facts (3+ / 0-)

    Apologies in advance is this is the wrong place for them.

    Mexico has about a third the population of the United States but about the same number of firearms homicides, despite having extremely restrictive gun laws. This means that for whatever reason, they have three times our firearms homicide rate per capita.

    An extra 239 firearms homicides as quoted at the ThinkProgress link would be about a 2% increase, not 16%. Only off the mark by a factor of 8. I would normally consider this an improvement for Tytalus, but he was quoting someone else rather than doing his own research, so I'm afraid it does not count to his benefit.

    From the good people at the CDC, the averaged firearm homicide rate per 100,000 (they only supplied it in three year blocks).

             1999-2001     2002-2004     2005-2007
    AZ            5.8                 6.1                6.2

    NM            4.7                4.4                4.0

    TX             3.8                4.1                4.3

    CA             4.2                4.9                4.8

    Wow, gun-crazy Texas has a lower firearms homicide rate than safe & sane California. And California had the highest rate of increase in firearms homicides in the years before the Clinton AW ban expired. And the rate of increase in firearms homicide in AZ, NM and TX dropped after the AW ban expired. What's that you say? When you actually look up the facts, the numbers don't support the premise of the diary?

    Well, if you are the sort of person who merely regurgitates someone else's blog, which in turn references another blog, which in turn was based on two research papers, neither of which was peer-reviewed and one of which contradicts the point you are trying to make, and you didn't bother to check any of the data before posting it, then your name might be at the top of this diary.

    •  'for whatever reason' (7+ / 0-)

      This diary is about why Mexico is being flooded with illegal guns, in spite of their strong gun laws. The answer is what you hide behind the curtain of 'for whatever reason'. Interesting to see the ways gun enthusiasts try to cover up the consequences of their actions.

      If we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress. – Gabrielle Giffords

      by tytalus on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 02:48:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unlike you (3+ / 0-)

        I dug down and read the papers and looked up the stats. An extra 239 homicides is not a 16% increase in the Mexican homicide rate, which you would have been able to determine if you actually cared about accuracy more than agenda. Note that the Monkey Cage article used as a source for the ThinkProgress piece said the overall Mexican rate went up by 16%, so it is not just referring to the near-border rate.

        The baseline estimates suggest the expiration of the AWB is responsible for at least 16.4 percent of the increase in the homicide rate in Mexico between 2004 and 2008.
        The firearms rate in the US states adjacent to Mexico is relevant since it is presumed to be the source of the weapons, and if crime in Mexico is related to accessibility (as implied in the CA vs. TX/AZ/NM graph), there should be a similar increase in the states where these weapons originated. And there is not. Nor is any explanation given. But please don't let me stop you from pulling such an explanation from the same place you got the rest of your conclusions. That's one place I have no interest in rummaging through in a fruitless search for some facts.

        Of the two non-peer reviewed papers the entire premise is based on, the one by the grad student in economics has data that directly contradicts the assertion that the expiration of the assault weapon ban correlates with the Mexican firearms homicide rate.

        But like I said, you didn't check a single thing in your diary for accuracy. It agreed with what you already believed, so it was obviously true. The point has been made about the quality of your work for those who care about such things, so I leave the last word to you.

        •  Yes, but the 239 number that you used to make (6+ / 0-)

          your brilliant calculations was just for the border communities.

          There may very well have been an increase of 16% across Mexico, but that has nothing to do with the number 239, which is related to communities just across the border. Actually the article says that there is A higher % increase in towns near TX, AZ, and NM than 16%

          You can download the articles and print them out, but chewing on them is not the same as reading them.

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:18:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  More fun facts: (6+ / 0-)

      If you had bothered to download the .pdf file that ThinkProgress provided you would have seen that they were specifically talking about communities within 100 miles of the border, not all of Mexico.

      The paper abstract

      Does access to arms promote violent crime? We exploit a natural experiment induced by the 2004 expiration of the U.S. Federal Assault Weapons Ban to examine how the subsequent exogenous increase in the availability of lethal weaponry affected violence in Mexico. The expiration relaxed the permissiveness of gun sales in border states such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, but not California, which retained a pre-existing state- level ban. Using mortality statistics over 2002-2006, we show that homicides, gun-related homicides and crime gun seizures increased differentially in Mexican municipios located closer to entry ports in these other border states, relative to entry ports in California. Our estimates suggest that the U.S. policy change caused at least 239 additional deaths annually in municipios near the border during post-2004 period. The results are robust to controls for drug trafficking, policing, unauthorized immigration, and economic conditions in U.S. border ports, as well as drug eradication, military enforcement, and trends in income and education in Mexican municipios. Our findings suggest that U.S. gun laws have exerted an unanticipated spillover on gun supply in Mexico, and this increase in arms has fueled rising violence south of the border.
      Also your CDC statistics are irrelevant because the article is talking about increase in gun-related homicides in communities on the other side of the border from those states. They pretty clearly demonstrate that homicides in Mexican communities close to NM, TX, and AZ all saw a greater increase in gun-related homicides than those closer to California. Additionally, they examined hand gun vs. rifle, and saw that there was no similar increase in crimes just involving hand guns, but rifle related deaths (which include all rifles) were much higher.  

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 03:52:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love how you guys always forget to include (6+ / 0-)

      suicides in your gun death numbers, which would make the U.S. and Mexico much closer in per capita gun deaths.

      I know I know, collateral damage--doesn't count.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 03:56:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:18:26 PM PDT

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