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Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Arizona's Guns are Crossing the Border

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The propagandists for Arizona's draconian anti-immigration law claim that illegals are terrorizing Arizona residents. Actually, the crime rate for illegals is lower than for the native born, but reality has never swayed a right-winger who wants to believe BS. Arizonans have a head-in-the-sand viewpoint when it comes to their virtually non-existent gun laws. Thousands of weapons of various kinds have been flowing into Mexico from Arizona for years.

My wife and I have been driving from Nogales 900 miles to Nayarit state for 12 years. Anyone who has traveled to Mexico is aware that getting caught with a gun is a major offense that will land the perpetrator in jail muy pronto. Yet these days Mexico is awash with guns, most of which cross the Arizona and Texas borders. Smuggling guns into Mexico is, and has been, absurdly easy. Until November of 2009, there was no checkpoint on the U.S. side to intercept smugglers. You could take the freeway bypass around Nogales, Arizona, and proceed on to kilometer 21 in Sonora where you have to buy a vehicle permit to travel into the interior. If you are only traveling to Sonora, you don't even have to do that.

Thus, there is a 15-mile corridor in northern Sonora where smugglers could, and probably do, pass the weapons onto confederates who have hundreds of square miles to elude surveillance. Finally, last year the U.S. Border Patrol set up a checkpoint presumably to catch weapons smugglers. The problem with the "Drug War" is the high demand in the U.S. and the flow of weaponry from the U.S., Arizona in particular, that has increased the violence in Mexico exponentially. Two years ago the ATF was handed a load of weapons captured from Mexican "Narcos." The guns were traced to a dealer in Phoenix and the FEDs tried to prosecute the dealer, but were thwarted by a federal judge who threw the case out citing anti-gun control statutes. Thus Arizonans are whining about being terrorized by Illegals using guns from Arizona dealers. There is a warped irony in all this.

All the guns flowing into Mexico have obliterated the country's heretofore strong gun control laws. Banditos and lots of rootless and unemployed young men are now armed to the teeth. Those of us who live in Mexico part time are now in more danger than we've been in the past. And it's not easy to just stay away. There are an estimated three million Americans living in Mexico and most own property, including us. Fortunately, we have never had a problem except for our house being broken into a couple of times. But during our trip home late last month, we missed by two hours a shoot-out between two drug gangs less than a kilometer from the RV park where we camped. The Mexican fellow who works at the park warned there would be retaliation by the ambushed gang and suggested with a flourish of his arm that we "vamoose" as soon as possible. We did.

- R.T.Tihista

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