The Damned Weapons!

Along the southern border of the United States, right over the line, there are 22,689 shops where weapons are sold. In the last 10 years, 2 million weapons have entered Mexico illegally. If one adds to that number the 12,573 weapons lost or stolen by state and municipal police, the result is quite serious. These are the weapons that criminals have in their possession—and they represent a threat for Mexicans. The excessive number of shops where any American can legally buy weapons in their country is not what should be analyzed; the U.S. government will not change its weapons policy simply because Mexico asks it to.

What is really important for both countries is the illegal sale from that country to this one, because more than 70% of the weapons entering our country illegally are manufactured in the U.S. The rest come from Spain, Italy and Austria, among other countries.

It is of utmost importance because weapons are the main vehicle of violence, death and crime. In sum, they serve as the foundational empowerment of criminals in Mexico. Our country is among those with the strongest control over weapons possession, because their sale is legal only through the Ministry of National Defense via the Arms and Ammunition Marketing Department, which is dependent on the General Directorate of Military Industry. Undoubtedly, these controls allow the tracking of almost all weapons legally sold in Mexico; these are registered weapons that would hardly be used to commit crimes. Such control is extremely difficult for Americans. It would be very helpful for them to undertake a strategy there to stop this illegal flow.

A report by Gen. Luis Cresencio Sandoval revealed that methods of trafficking weapons to Mexico can be amazing—and it’s not just anecdotal data, but a reality that has Mexico on alert. From soda bottles with cartridges, to a fake stabilizer bar in a vehicle’s suspension. The bar was the barrel for a .50-caliber Barret rifle. From the false floor of a semitrailer, covering a lower floor serving as a container for cartridges and weapons, to the same products hidden between two batteries.

The efforts made by the military to contain, confiscate, exchange and destroy illegal weapons resemble those used in confronting an invincible entity. It is not invincible, the permanent campaign in this arena has put criminal groups on alert. They are well aware that our soldiers on land, sea and in the air will do all that is possible to reduce this phenomenon. In the last 10 years, almost 140,000 weapons have been exchanged by people who have preferred to hand over what they know to be illegal before engaging in illegal activities. To this must be added the almost 200,000 more that have been seized from criminal groups.

Cooperation between the two countries is key. Our military will not cease in its effort to meet its responsibility.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 82 Articles
I first edited and translated for Watching America from 2009 through 2011, recently returning and rediscovering the pleasure of working with dedicated translators and editors. Latin America is of special interest to me. In the mid-60’s, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, and later lived for three years in Mexico, in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán and in Mexico City. During those years, my work included interviewing in anthropology research, teaching at a bilingual school in the federal district, and conducting workshops in home nursing care for disadvantaged inner city women. I earned a BS degree from Wagner College, masters and doctoral degrees from WVU, and was a faculty member of the WVU School of Nursing for 27 years. In that position, I coordinated a two-year federal grant (FIPSE) at WVU for an exchange of nursing students with the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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