Will "Project Gunrunner" Respect American Gun Rights?
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Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora doesn't care for American gun laws. After the Virginia Tech shooting last year he said that
American law seems absurd to me, because ….the citizens can easily acquire arms. American society lives the consequences of this on a daily basis, and it has begun to be reflected upon as a result of that Korean not long ago.
One of the reasons Medina Mora doesn't like our gun laws is that arms purchased in the U.S. are being smuggled to Mexican drug cartels. The Mexican government wants an open border for Mexicans traveling northward, but it doesn't want weapons traveling southward. It doesn't work that way though. Many of the arms that wind up in Mexico are purchased at gun shows in Texas and Arizona, using an intermediary "straw purchaser"—someone who is legally entitled to own a gun in one of those states. On January 16th , U.S. Attorney General Mukasey met in Mexico City with Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora (who doesn't like U.S. gun rights, remember) and President Calderon.[ U.S., Mexico Set Sights on Stopping Flow of Weapons to Cartels , By Alfredo Corchado, Laurence Iliff, Dallas Morning News, June 17th, 2008] Mukasey has announced a new operation known as "Project Gunrunner" designed to prevent the flow of weapons to the Mexican cartels. Mukasy said that,
I certainly foresee a tightening-up of the way gun dealers distribute guns if, in fact, they are selling to straw purchasers. I see tighter enforcement of regulations requiring that they get proper identification and that they check these people before they sell guns, and inevitably we are going to find people who are not doing what they ought to do, and they will be prosecuted.
Part of Project Gunrunner includes the sharing of a database with Mexican officials:
The new measures will also give Mexican law enforcement officials greater access to the eTrace computer database in the United States, allowing them to use the serial numbers to trace weapons used in Mexican crimes to U.S. gun dealers.
The database, currently accessible at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, will be made available to officials at all nine U.S. consulates in Mexico, beginning with those in Monterrey, Hermosillo and Guadalajara. A Spanish-language version of the database might also be created, U.S. officials said.
Keeping American weapons out of the hands of Mexican drug cartels is certainly a noble goal. But we'd best examine carefully how to go about it, making sure that we take into account Second Amendment rights, the difference between American and Mexican gun laws, and the risks of distributing a database of American gun dealers in Mexico.
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