Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When private businesses make foreign policy

Is this a demonstration of the weakness of the state in the US or in Mexico or both?

U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels

"PHOENIX —The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

"When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns...

"Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes...

"The gun laws in the United States allow the sale of multiple military-style rifles to American citizens without reporting the sales to the government, and the Mexicans search relatively few cars and trucks going south across their border.

"What is more, the sheer volume of licensed dealers — more than 6,600 along the border alone, many of them operating out of their houses — makes policing them a tall order. Currently the A.T.F. has about 200 agents assigned to the task...

"The authorities in the United States say they do not know how many firearms are transported across the border each year, in part because the federal government does not track gun sales and traces only weapons used in crimes. But A.T.F. officials estimate 90 percent of the weapons recovered in Mexico come from dealers north of the border..."

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