The latest from CBS News:
CBS News has learned that the Mexican Government has retained an American law firm to explore filing civil charges against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors over the flood of guns crossing the border into Mexico.
Sources say Mexico’s frustration with U.S. efforts to stop the flow of weapons has pushed them into this novel approach. The law firm is looking at charges that may include civil RICO. The contract was signed on November 2, 2010 by a representative of Mexico’s Attorney General, at their Washington embassy.
On November 5, 2010 President Felipe Calderon expressed his frustration to CBS News correspondent Peter Greenberg: “We seized more than 90,000 weapons…I am talking like 50,000 assault weapons, AR -5 machine guns, more than 8,000 grenades and almost 10 million bullets. Amazing figures and according to all those cases, the ones we are able to track, most of these are American weapons.”
According to sources, investigators will obtain makes and serial numbers of guns seized by Mexican authorities and trace them to their U.S. distributors and manufacturers.
The 90% claim (that 90% of guns used in crime and recovered in Mexico come from the U.S.- as reported by President Barack Obama, The New York Times, CBS, Mexican authorities, BATFE, etc.) has been thoroughly debunked- if that’s what President Calderon is referring to. As far as the American weapons that have recently been seized, Calderon does not disclose how many were knowingly allowed to enter Mexico in the latest BATFE scandal.
The frustration of Mexico is understandable. Through their misguided crime control laws, they have made it difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, thereby giving the Mexican drug cartels and the (largely corruptible) Mexican authorities a near-duopoly on the threat of force. This creates and perpetuates a country of victims.
In terms of the civil lawsuit, it seems hard to believe that as a culture the U.S. has eroded personal responsibility so far as to criminalize the manufacturers of inanimate objects for the actions of end-users. This irrational, emotional reaction to crime is often categorized as hoplophobia, a morbid fear of firearms. Guns create crime like spoons create obesity; without human interaction a gun is no more dangerous than a paperweight. Allowing these lawsuits to prevail will create a very slippery slope.
Furthermore, American gun distributors were pressured to illegally allow straw purchasers to commit crimes with government impunity. Blaming the same dealers that were duped by the BATFE seems to be absolutely ridiculous. The only true criminally negligent actions were committed on behalf of the U.S. government, through the BATFE’s attempt to, “stem the flow of firearms into Mexico, in an attempt to deprive the Mexican drug cartels of weapons“.
This whole story reeks of corruption, abusive bureaucracy, and a lack of transparency. Let’s hope this is just another sensationalist show to secure President Calderon’s re-election in 2012. Oh, and can someone please contact Felipe for us and let him know that we would love to review one of those fancy “AR-5 machine guns” that he recently confiscated. We promise to write up a full range report with pictures!