Has the United States Become an Arms Bazaar for Mexican Drug Cartels?

Lax gun control laws in the United States have made it easy for hundreds of Mexican drug traffickers to stock up on the rifles and weapons that fuel much of the violence in the current drug wars tearing apart our neighbor to the south.

Mexican authorities have long argued that US gun dealers are arming the cartels. In Mexico, the gun laws are much stricter than in the USA. Civilians must first get official approval from the military in order to purchase firearms. Large-caliber rifles and high-powered pistols, like those favored by the cartels, are outlawed because they are considered military weapons.

The situation is at times overwhelming for authorities on both sides of the border. Gun laws here in the United States allow the sale of multiple military-style firearms to citizens without reporting the sales to the government. The amount of licensed dealers along the border (more than 6,000) makes it incredibly difficult for agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to monitor. The ATF has roughly about 200 agents assigned to the task of monitoring the border. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that the Mexican government searches relatively few cars and trucks going south across their border.

"We can move against the most outrageous purveyors of arms to Mexico, but the characteristic of the arms trade is it’s a ‘parade of ants’—it’s not any one big dealer, it’s lots of individuals," Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, told the NY Times, "That makes it very hard to detect because it’s often below the radar." Read the whole article here