Gunrunning from the U.S. to Mexico

by David Safier

I don't know where to start in this Media Matters article about gunrunning from the U.S. to Mexico, there's so much important stuff to write about. But this seems like a good entry point: the story of Uriel Patino, who bought 232 weapons in 18 visits to the same store, saying they were for his personal use.

According to the indictment, Uriel Patino, a legal resident of the U.S., paid cash last Nov. 3 for two AK-47 rifles from Lone Wolf Trading Co., a Glendale, Ariz. strip mall gun store. A week later, he came back and bought 10 more AK-47s. Two days later, he purchased five more AKs. A month after that, he bought 20 more. In all, he bought 232 weapons — 42 handguns and 190 assault rifles — all from the same store, in 18 visits. With each purchase, Patino passed an instant background check and signed a form attesting the firearms were for his personal use.

Why is this possible? Because there is no law saying gun stores have to report the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person.

Since 1993, it's been the law that gun stores have to notify authorities when a person buys two or more handguns in the same week. Assault weapons? No such law.

The article makes an obvious, yet overlooked point. Conservative lawmakers want to secure the border with a longer fence and more guards, and they cite threats of violence as one of their main arguments, yet they refuse to do anything to limit the flow of guns across the border, even though reporting multiple purchases won't hamper the rights of people to buy guns for their personal use. Quite a disconnect.

According to Alonzo Peña, the former Deputy Director of ICE, speaking at the fifth annual Border Security Expo in Phoenix recently, we're not taking our share of the responsibility for the bloodshed in Mexico or the potential for violence spilling across the border.

"We are the consumers of the drugs and we are the suppliers of the weapons," said Peña. "The drugs come to America, the money and the guns go back. U.S. weapons are giving these cartels the firepower they need. Much more needs to be done. There is a huge gap between what we are capable of doing to stop illegal gun trafficking to Mexico and what is actually being done."

I won't give you all the stats in the article, though they are horrific. But here is a photo of "Weapons seized in March 2010 by Mexican military police from La Familia Michoacana Cartel, more commonly known as La Familia, a Mexican drug trafficking organization and criminal syndicate."


There is no reason why one person should be allowed to buy 232 weapons like these without anyone asking, Why so many?

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