The Norman Transcript

Letters

February 10, 2013

Misled rebuttal demands clarifications

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The one thing Deming correctly mentions is that although gun ownership in Mexico is tightly restricted, the murder rate there is higher than in the U.S. Deming must, however, be completely unaware of the fact that the majority of guns in Mexico are from the United States.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report in June 2009 titled “Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Arms Trafficking to Mexico Face Planning and Coordination Challenges,” which states, “While it is impossible to know how many firearms are illegally smuggled into Mexico in a given year, about 87 percent of firearms seized by Mexican authorities and traced in the last five years originated in the United States. ...” (p. 1).

Furthermore, in 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) published a report called “Following the Gun” that studied more than 1,530 trafficking investigations over two-and-a-half years and discovered that gun shows are the second leading source of guns diverted from legal to illegal commerce, which totaled 26,000 firearms illegally trafficked through gun shows — a problem compounded by the fact that unlicensed gun show dealers are not required to perform background checks (p. 17).

While law enforcement in Mexico is plagued by broader issues such as corruption and poverty, U.S. law enforcement is instead hampered by the fact that weak legal venues for the prosecution of gun traffickers in the U.S. don’t realistically allow courts to convict these criminals until they have committed other crimes. This is clearly unacceptable. Careful readers may find the full text of each study online, but if Deming knows something more about this issue than the frontline law enforcement, the ATF and the GAO, I would love to hear what that is.

Finally, Deming accuses me of not providing information on how to get criminals to turn in their weapons. How about background checks to prevent felons and gun smugglers from buying guns through unlicensed dealers in the first place? Is this an “extremist” idea? I hardly think so.

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