Mexico has long had the unfortunate reputation of being a violent country where drug cartels operate with seeming impunity. The country’s homicide rate has reached stratospheric levels, and shows little evidence of slowing down. In 1990, murders in Mexico occurred at a rate of roughly 17 per 100K of the population. An unsettling number, to be sure. But by 2020, that rate had shockingly skyrocketed to nearly 30 per 100K.
By comparison, the rate in the USA in 1990 was 9 per 100K, and by 2020 had dropped to a little under five. In other words, in 30 years, the US had nearly halved its rate of homicides, while Mexico’s rate had nearly doubled. Put another way, while Mexico’s murder rate was once nearly double that of the US, it is now roughly six times our rate.
Why does this horrific trend seem to be unstoppable? There have been numerous claims of government officials being linked to the drug cartels that are fueling the violent rampage throughout the country. Sometimes, arrests are made, like in 2009, when 10 mayors and 18 others with government ties were taken in. But that hasn’t seemed to put a damper on individuals within Mexico’s government continuing their collusion with the cartels. With some in the government apparently helping the cartels, is it any wonder they continue to flourish?
These violent Mexican cartels also appear to be expanding their criminal networks, with reports that they are involved with organized crime in China. To make matters worse, efforts between Mexico and the US to work together to go after the cartels have seemingly fallen apart.
None of this is encouraging news.
So, how does this impact the Second Amendment?
Mexico—after decades of failing to rein in the violent cartels within its borders, failing to stop them from expanding globally, and failing to curtail its own government officials from either turning a blind eye to the cartels or, even worse, working directly with them—has apparently determined its problem stems from…America’s federally licensed, heavily regulated firearms industry. And Mexico has decided to sue.
But before we address that lawsuit, we should clarify something.
American gun manufacturers do not sell guns directly to private citizens, either here or in other countries. In general, the guns they build are purchased by distributers, who are federally licensed and strictly regulated, who then sell them to dealers—also licensed and regulated—who then sell them to individuals. But such sales are not done until the perspective purchaser has first gone through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Those guns manufacturers who wish to send to foreign markets are subject to our export laws, as well as the importation laws of each country. After complying with our export regulations, most countries, Mexico included, will require American-made guns intended to be sold to private citizens to first comply with their import regulations, and if approved, only then can they go to a government-recognized dealer. In Mexico there is only one legal gun store in the entire country, which is located in Mexico City, and on an army base. Guns that make it to that store are strictly controlled, and very few law-abiding citizens are able to navigate the bureaucracy, or have the resources, in order to lawfully purchase a firearm—let alone travel to that single store if they don’t happen to live in Mexico City.
In spite of all this, somehow, American gun manufacturers are at fault.
The truth is, guns finding their way into the hands of criminals in Mexico is not due to any laws being broken by gun manufacturers.
Clearly, the cartels acquire their guns through illegal channels. With evidence that some within the government of Mexico are working with the cartels, it is not unrealistic to presume that many illicit firearms are acquired with the help of corrupt government officials. Even our own government was found to have supplied the cartels with illegal firearms—through the infamous Obama-era Operation Fast and Furious scandal—that were ultimately linked to at least 69 murders in Mexico.
As for the lawsuit, last August, we reported that American anti-gun extremists were working in concert with the Mexican government in an attempt to hold US gun manufacturers liable for the failure of Mexican law enforcement to get control over that nation’s violent drug cartels. To accomplish this, Mexico has turned to civil litigation. If this sounds familiar, it should. The shift to using civil litigation instead of law enforcement to combat violent crime was taken directly from the anti-gun playbook, which has tried, and failed, for decades to sue gun makers out of business.
Now, more than a dozen US states have joined in this scurrilous attempt to lay the failures of the Mexican government to keep its own citizens safe at the feet of an American industry. They have signed onto an amicus brief supporting Mexico’s outrageous lawsuit. It should come as no surprise to know that the states involved are some of the most anti-gun states in the nation; including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. Washington, D.C., of course, has also signed on.
A separate amicus brief signed by more than two dozen district attorneys was also filed in support of the Mexico lawsuit. Among the signees to that brief were some of the most anti-gun, and embattled, district attorneys in the country. The list includes DAs Chesa Boudin (San Francisco), Kim Foxx (Cook County/Chicago), George Gascon (L.A. County), and Larry Krasner (Philadelphia). All of these DAs were financially supported by radically anti-gun billionaire George Soros, who has funneled nearly $30 million dollars since 2016 into the election of district attorneys. And all of these DAs have faced accusations of being soft on criminals, including violent criminals.
As we reported in August, the Mexican lawsuit, while filed in US federal court, makes the breathtakingly audacious demand that the court ignore both US law and the Constitution, and rule against gun manufacturers under Mexico law.
That is, of course, the only way such a suit could possibly succeed, thanks to both the foresight of our Founding Fathers with the Second Amendment, and years of effort by NRA and the pro-gun community to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The PLCAA was designed specifically to reject the very argument that Mexico is trying to make. The suit wants to hold gun manufacturers—even though they have complied with every one of the numerous laws and regulations that control their industry—responsible for the violent acts of the drug cartels. And they seek to do so even though these cartels clearly use a vast network of illegal channels (with probable help from certain corrupt government officials in Mexico) to wreak their havoc on Mexico.
US states and organizations colluding with foreign nations to undermine US law and the Constitution, with a clear goal to destroy an entire legal and heavily regulated American industry, should be looked on as the highest contempt for our rule of law.
It should be noted that most of the states that have chosen to side with Mexico currently seem to be experiencing similar problems, with similar origins, to our neighbors across our southern border. While Mexico has seen violent crime rise unabated for decades, most of the states that signed onto the amicus brief in support of Mexico have seen violent crime rise over the last two years.
Anti-gun extremists have tried to claim the recent rise in violent crime in America is because of the unprecedented rise in law-abiding Americans purchasing firearms over the same time period; with millions of these purchases made by first-time gun owners.
But considering Americans have been increasing the numbers of lawful firearms purchases for decades, our violent crime rate has been declining for decades, and research has shown that the recent rise in lawful gun purchases is not to blame for recent crime trends, some other factor, or factors, must be at play.
There are likely myriad reasons for the recent violent crime increase in America, some of which we have discussed. One that we pointed to nearly two years ago—releasing criminals from prison in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—may actually have a link to Mexico’s situation, even if only tangential.
The states that signed on to the amicus brief have, of course, very liberal Attorneys General, and many have the very liberal DAs that signed onto their own amicus brief. Regardless of whether or not they truly believe the lawsuit filed by Mexico has any real merit or likelihood of succeeding, they are likely to support what many see as its goal of driving gun manufacturers into bankruptcy through the crushing legal fees accrued during such meritless litigation.
In addition to their anti-gun views, many of these AGs also chose to set free countless convicted criminals still serving their sentences, as well as those incarcerated while facing prosecution for any number of crimes—including violent crimes like murder and attempted murder—all as part of their response to COVID-19.
Along with these liberal AGs, countless amicus-signing DAs—again, mostly in these anti-gun states—have taken to releasing incarcerated individuals facing criminal charges—again, up to, and including, murder—without bail as they await trial.
So, while criminals were released from prison, and many accused of violent crime were released while awaiting trial, violent crime has been increasing. In a sense, this is similar to the experience in Mexico. Here, some have chosen to let loose violent criminals, or been unwilling even to prosecute them, and violent crime has risen. There, they have been unable, or unwilling, to successfully go after the violent drug cartels, and violent crime has skyrocketed.
Mexico and America appear to be having similar problems with rising violent crime, and, perhaps, similar origins stemming from the failures of Mexican law enforcement and prosecutors, and the failure of some American AGs and DAs. Thankfully, our problem is nowhere close to the tragedy taking place in Mexico.
Sadly, some anti-gun politicians here, and the Mexican government there, both see one easy solution to the problems they either cannot, or will not, directly address: deflect criticism of their own failures by abusing the legal system to blame law-abiding gun manufacturers.