Friday, July 13, 2012

"Don't give revolvers to youngsters"

A recent report on guns by STRATFOR, a global intelligence services company, is really depressing.

Nominally, the piece deals with the "Fast and Furious" botch-up  involving guns sold in the U.S. that end up in Mexico.

That is, guns sold legally in the U.S. that end up in Mexico, legally or illegally, to be used for illegal purposes that include killing lots of people.

Let's leave aside for a moment the wacky concerns of the NRA and gun rights advocates about the so-called "chilling effect" of law enforcement activities to control high volume sales of automatic weapons that have nothing to do with personal protection and defense of the American home from intruders.

STRATFOR describes in detail how increased efforts to police the flow of guns across the U.S.-Mexico border will not cut down on gun trafficking. It turns out there are way too many other ways for the Mexican drug lords and gangs to get guns if they can't procure them easily from U.S. dealers along the border.

The drug cartels will buy guns from dealers in Chicago or Atlanta or other cities far from the border.

They will buy gun components—the basic receiver that fires the bullets, the barrel, the trigger, the bolt, etc—easily, anywhere, because the separate components are not regulated, and assemble the guns in Mexico.

They'll buy guns and grenades from the Mexican military, or shady military sources in Central American countries, or from international arms dealers….

….or they'll buy guns from Chinese organized crime syndicates, or from numerous sources for black market assault rifles in Africa, or from Balkan cocaine traffickers who have access to large stockpiles of off-the-books weapons in Eastern Europe…

There's no way to stop the flow of guns to Mexican gangs and drug lords, or to the other gangs and drug lords and terrorists spread out across the planet.

We have a gun problem. At least we should be doing a much better job of controlling it here in America.

And by the way, the quote above about "Don't give revolvers to youngsters" is from a 4th of July newspaper story in Bethlehem, PA, back in 1908. I guess it was easier to understand the gun problem then.

Too many guns....another thought


  1. I came to your blog based on your comments in another forum about the Aurora shootings.

    Responsible citizens exercising their gun rights are not a problem. The problem is with criminals and criminal organizations that make it possible to get firearms outside of legal channels in large quantities so that they may commit further crimes. There is also a problem with crazy people who have hitherto been clean.

    (And, by the way, one of the problems with the old Virginia one-hangun-a-month law is that it got in the way of otherwise lawful transaction such as buying a set of historic, and still working, pistols, or arming a family after a threat. It also didn't work in stopping serious criminals.)

    Let me change the terms a bit to show you the problem with limits on the number of firearms that law-abiding citizens may buy. Speech is also a right. What your argument against people having too many guns can be applied to speech. What if one can only post one blog post a month (equivalent to one pistol a month)? Oh, and pass a test that says you know basic grammar and syntax in order to do it, as well as to buy your books and magazines.

    Silly? well maybe. But I think the logic still holds.

    You might then argue that there is a difference, that speech is essentially harmless. But, every now and then there is a statement that incites people to action, or increases hate, or on the good side, increases love. So with firearms, which are but a tool, as are words. Firearms can harm, but they can also defend and protect. They can also provide food and entertainment. Just as with words.

    1. I can't kill/wound 65 people with a single blog post, or even several of them. Shooting people is not an exercise of free speech.
      I agree that responsible citizens exercising their right to buy gun(s) is not the important problem.
      The important problem is with people, especially the non-criminals, who use guns to shoot people. The only way to minimize that problem is to limit the legal sale of guns.
      If a stranger starts shooting at me in a crowded movie theater, I'm not going to be real interested in exploring how responsible he was when he bought the gun.