May 25, 2018

THUS GUNWALKER:

There is only one gun store in all of Mexico. So why is gun violence soaring? (Kate Linthicum, MAY 24, 2018, LA Times)
  
The only gun store in all of Mexico is located behind a fortress-like wall on a heavily guarded military base in Mexico City.
  
The only gun shop in all of Mexico is behind a fortress-like wall on a heavily guarded military base.

To enter the Directorate of Arms and Munitions Sales, customers must undergo months of background checks -- six documents are required -- and then be frisked by uniformed soldiers.

The army-run store on the outskirts of Mexico City embodies the country's cautious approach to firearms, and a visit here illustrates the dramatically different ways two neighboring countries view guns, legally and culturally.

Like the 2nd Amendment in the United States, Mexico's Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, but it also stipulates that federal law "will determine the cases, conditions, requirements and places" of gun ownership. For many Mexicans, even those who love guns, the thought of an unfettered right to owning one is perplexing.

Yet on this issue, like so many aspects of life in Mexico, the influence of its powerful neighbor to the north is keenly felt: Each day the army gun store sells on average just 38 firearms to civilians, while an estimated 580 weapons are smuggled into Mexico from the United States.

That paradox is increasingly relevant given Mexico's unprecedented levels of gun violence, which have claimed more than 100,000 lives over the last decade. Last year was Mexico's deadliest since the government began releasing homicide statistics in 1997. This year, it is on track to surpass that record.

American firearms are directly driving the violence, although U.S. appetites for drugs and rampant corruption among Mexican officials also play a role. About 70% of guns recovered by Mexican law enforcement officials from 2011 to 2016 were originally purchased from legal gun dealers in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Just because one attempt to stem this flow was botched does not obviate our moral obligation to our neighbors.

Posted by at May 25, 2018 4:36 PM

  

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