By Dan Gifford
Quote: “There is an iron river of guns that flows South into Mexico [from the United States] to supply criminal organizations on the border,” says Tom Mangan, senior special agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) in Phoenix. “They are in the market for machine guns, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles,” he continues.
Mangan is right. The drug gangs can’t buy that and other military stuff in Mexico, so they drive to the United States and purchase them from American gun dealers at retail. Isn’t that the story you’ve been told?
Well, congratulations. America’s First Amendment protected propaganda ministry has punked you on another important issue — this time on behalf of dissembling officials and gun confiscation advocates.
For the benefit of those who may not know, machine guns like the one above and other automatic weapons plus ammunition seized with drug cartel murderer Anahi Beltran Cabrera came from the international military weapons black market. Those hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other such military items Mangan wants you to believe are sold at gun stores and shows are illegal possess by US civilians. That means what Mangan says is bunk. You should also know that grenade launchers and missile launchers are harmless without the respective grenade or missile.
Yes, there are some civilian owned machine-guns in America, but they all have had to be registered with the BATF by 1986 as evidence that a special Treasury tax has been paid and the owner’s residence state has to approve the possession. What’s more, none of these arms has ever been involved in a crime and all are considered very pricey collectors items. That means they are not for sale to or in the hands of Mexican drug goons.
That raises some questions: If Mexican gangsters are not buying military weapons in the United States, why do people like BATF officials, Attorney General Holder, Secretary of State Clinton, gun prohibitionists like Sarah Brady and multitudes of media talking heads claim they are while calling for an American “assault weapon” ban they say will to keep the Mexican drug gangs from buying what they really aren’t buying here because they can’t? And if Mexican gangsters are not buying their military weapons in America from gun dealers as claimed, where are they buying them?
Well, as Fox News’ pundit Charles Krauthammer explained in one of his 1996 Washington Post columns, the answer to question one is quite simple: "Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is symbolic — purely symbolic … In fact, the assault weapons ban will have no effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea … Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation … Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquillity of the kind enjoyed in sister democracies like Canada and Britain … Yes, Sarah Brady is doing God’s work."
Krauthammer is able to so clearly state the obvious that most government officials, politicians, gun banners and reporters keep denying because he does not have to lie to voters in order to stay in office or keep donations coming in, as Sarah Brady does. Neither do I. So please note that all the public safety blather about “plastic guns” that can evade metal screener detection, “cop killer bullets” that are specifically made to murder police officers, “Saturday Night Specials” which are unsafe for anyone to possess (except for police — there’s always a police exception) and the other oft repeated gun control paradigms are simply bogus media ready scare phrases that have zero to do with public safety and everything to do with eventually outlawing the private ownership of firearms. Maybe you agree with that goal and maybe you don’t, but that’s the object of “reasonable gun control” advocacy.
The answer to the second question is equally obvious.
Gun running from the United States into Mexico has been going on since the 1800s. But the stuff bought or stolen here is not the military weaponry we are continually told is arming the gangs there. This paragraph from a Los Angeles Times story managed to get the story right even if nobody else in the media will report it: "Most of these [military] weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semi-automatic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. . . . The enhanced weaponry represents a wide sampling from the international arms bazaar, with grenades and launchers produced by U.S., South Korean, Israeli, Spanish or former Soviet bloc manufacturers.
A full automatic AK-47
Many had been sold legally to governments, including Mexico’s, and then were diverted onto the black market. Some may be sold directly to the traffickers by corrupt elements of national armies, authorities and experts say … These groups appear to be taking advantage of a robust global black market and porous borders, especially between Mexico and Guatemala. Some of the weapons are left over from the wars that the United States helped fight in Central America, U.S. officials said." Stratfor, a private intelligence agency, noted more: "Grenades used in three recent attacks in Monterey, Mexico, and Pharr, Texas, all originated from the same lot delivered from South Korea."
So let’s recap. Attorney General Holder, Secretary of State Clinton, ATF officials and a host of others claim that an “assault weapon ban” against American civilians will keep Mexican drug cartels with gazillions of dollars in their jeans from buying military weapons on the international black market.
Hey, makes sense to me.
Dan Gifford is a national Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated film producer and former reporter for CNN, The MacNeil Lehrer News Hour and ABC News.