We’re not in Oz

I’ve been reading quite a bit in the news lately about how it’s Texas’ fault that Mexican cartel’s are so well armed. Some go as far as to blame Governor Abbott for this.

I don’t know where these reporters are from but it really must be Oz. First of all, the Constitution–and more specifically the 2nd Amendment– only applies to US citizens, permanent residents and in some cases green card holders. Last May, a three-judge panel on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that illegal aliens are not covered by the Second Amendment.

So no, your neighborhood violent drug cartel does not have the right to keep and bear arms, either in the United States or Mexico.

Secondly, firearm dealers, even those  in Texas,  have been regulated by the Federal government since 1938… so blame President Biden, not Governor Abbott.

Furthermore, it is illegal for them to a) come across the border without some kind of visa or government papal blessing and b) actually buy a gun. 

Look, I get it, next week starts early voting and campaigns are going to make all kinds of wild accusations. And I really do understand why a reporter would cover those messages. I work a great deal with the press and I believe I have a pretty good handle on what their job is and also, how it relates to their boss (usually the editor). 

And if that was what these articles were, I’d roll my eyes and be on my way. 

That’s not what the articles I’ve read are doing. They are attempting to report as “fact” that the Mexican cartels are getting their guns through US FFLs and returning to Mexico. The reporters are doing exactly what the Mexican government is trying to do: Shift the focus away from the corruption in its own military and federal  law enforcement agencies. 

In the Guardian article (the worst offender), reporter Sam Garcia included the following quote from Carlos Peña Ortiz, the mayor of Reynosa, a city along the Texas-Mexico border south of McAllen:

 “We are having a problem with high-caliber military weapons. We know that most, if not all, of these high-caliber weapons are coming from the United States and a significant amount are likely coming from Texas. The financial incentive to smuggle weapons into Mexico is high and purchasing them in Texas and driving a few miles is too easy.”

The Guardian reporter noted the Peña Ortiz talked specifically about AK-47s 

“As Peña Ortiz has seen, there are many rifles styled after AK-47s that can be purchased relatively cheaply in the US for between $500 and $1,000, then taken to Mexico and resold at three or four times that value.”

Mayor Peña Ortiz neglected to tell Mr. Garcia whether those AK-47s were semi-automatic or selective-fire. Military-grade AK-47s aren’t sold by U.S dealers but they are readily available from many sources in Central America.

In his rush to judgment, Mr. Peña Ortiz and Mr. Garcia failed to mention that those purchases from U.S. dealers were straw purchases made by people hired by the cartels to make the buys. This is a problem that has been known to the ATF for years. The spectacular failure of the “Operation Fast and Furious” staged by the Obama administration was supposed to be an effort to trace the movement of guns purchased through straw purchases once they crossed the border. The ATF lost track of the guns until one was used to kill a Border Patrol agent. 

My support for FFLs and the difficult work they do – with all the regulations imposed by ATF while they are trying to run a business – is unwavering So my question for Mr. Peña Ortiz is “If they can’t prove they are American citizens (or other legally allowed persons), why would any FFL sell guns under situations they believed to be suspicious?.

Federal law (18 U.S. Code §922(g)) says illegal aliens cannot buy a firearm. Citizenship and residency questions have to be answered every time a person wants to buy a gun from a federally licensed dealer. They are right there on the ATF’s Form 4473 that has to be filled by the buyer at every FFL shop in the United States. We all know it. So, if Mr. Peña Ortiz “knows” that high caliber weapons are being sold to illegal immigrants or straw purchasers, he’s got problems and again, I would offer the thought that he and the ATF may have some very uncomfortable conversations.

Also, I am astounded that we are apparently the ONLY border state that’s responsible for “supplying guns to the Mexican cartels”. Wow! Perhaps Mayor Peña Ortiz and reporter Sam Garcia would like to explain why Mexico is trying to sue five dealers in Arizona, making remarkably similar claims.  

Honestly? I know probably hundreds of FFLs: I can’t think of one that would make this kind of statement to the press. And every one of them that I know personally, would never sell a firearm to someone about whom they had doubts, just to make a buck.

Every article in the Guardian comes with a plea for money and the following claim:

“Unlike many others, the Guardian has no shareholders and no billionaire owner. Just the determination and passion to deliver high-impact global reporting, always free from commercial or political influence. Reporting like this is vital for democracy, for fairness and to demand better from the powerful.

Free from “commercial or political influence?” Fairness? It’s time for Mr. Garcia, among others, to make a trip to the Emerald City to see if the Wizard has something for journalistic integrity.