70% of guns at Mexican crime scenes come from US: Report
An official report reveals 70% of guns shipped and smuggled into Mexico to be used for criminal purposes and illegal activities come from the US.
According to a report commissioned by US Democratic Representative Eliot Engel of New York published on Monday, 70 percent of the guns — more than 73,000 — recovered from crime scenes in Mexico from 2009 to 2014 and traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), originated in the United States, fueling the ongoing war among the drug cartels and between the cartels and Mexican security forces with more than 100,000 killings in the country since 2007.
The report also details how cartel gun runners often buy weapons legally in the United States, either at gun shops, gun shows, or in private sales and smuggle them across the border.
Findings in the report show that cartels buy unassembled parts for firearms and ship them to be built across the border. US retailers do not have to report when they sell gun parts or kits and manufacturers are not required to stamp serial numbers on gun parts, leaving completed weapons untraceable.
“They are also easy to conceal,” the US Government Accountability Office report notes of the gun parts, “making it more challenging for customs authorities to detect illicit shipments of such parts.”
The ATF, tasked with apprehending smugglers, has long had problems with understaffing and underfunding.
US president Barack Obama made a passionate plea last week about the urgency to fight gun violence in America, blasting Congress for inaction in the face of too many tragic deaths by firearms.
Obama’s proposals call for expanding background checks on gun buyers, hiring more FBI agents to process background checks for gun sales, and requiring gun dealers to notify federal authorities if their guns are lost in transit.
The actions aim to close the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows small dealers to sell firearms at gun shows or online without keeping official sales records.
Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans, including 84 percent of gun owners, believe background checks are necessary for gun purchases made at gun shows or online.
However, Obama’s proposals would need Congress to provide an additional $500 million for mental health services and funding for 200 new federal agents in the next spending legislation.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), firearms are the cause of death for more than 33,000 people in the United States every year, a number that includes accidental discharge, murder and suicides.