Mexican Cartels Have Little Trouble Getting US Guns

Lax laws, difficult tracing system make smuggling easy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2009 7:28 AM CDT
Mexican Cartels Have Little Trouble Getting US Guns
Villagers walk near candles placed where five soldiers were gunned down by alleged cartel gunmen a week earlier in Caracuaro, Mexico, Sunday, May 6, 2007.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

Thanks to lax gun laws that vary from state to state, smugglers providing arms to Mexican drug cartels can move vast quantities of weapons over the border for years without sparking suspicion. The subject may come up when President Obama visits Mexico tomorrow, but the political will to change US laws appears lacking. "The gun issue is the single one thing we can address, and we are not seeing it," a Texas police chief tells the New York Times.

Transporting the weapons isn’t hard, either: “If you stop me between the dealer and the border, I am still legal, because I can possess those guns,” says a US official. There’s no digital gun registry, meaning federal agents must follow an often-sloppy paper trail to trace weapons. Said one gun dealer: "When somebody walks in and says, ‘I need eight of these,’ it becomes apparent what’s happening."
(Read more drug cartel stories.)

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