CL: Gun control irrelevant in Mexican drug war

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION — speaking through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. – has suggested that the solution to growing Mexican border drug violence among that nation’s lawless drug cartels would be increased gun control in the United States.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has taken brave and significant steps to crack down on drug cartels. While progress has been made by the Mexican government, there has been a corresponding increase in drug-related border violence in the communities in the American southwest.

Earlier this week, Mississippi U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Tupelo, joined fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Kerry and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., along with Rep. Sylvester Reyes, D-Texas, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in field hearings in El Paso, Texas, where they heard from officials from both countries about the drug violence.

During the latter stages of the Bush administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reported that the U.S. is responsible for close to 90 percent of the high-powered weapons that find their way to Mexican drug cartels.

Testimony during the field hearings in El Paso saw Harriet Babbitt, the former ambassador to the Organization of American States, tell the congressional delegation that the U.S. could help its own efforts by ratifying a cross-border weapons smuggling treaty originally signed more than a decade ago.

The treaty requires countries to mark guns so they can be traced. The U.S. already requires that of guns imported or sold here, which helped officials to conclude that 90 percent of the guns traced by Mexican authorities are from the U.S.

Wicker rejected that call and said he was worried the treaty could infringe on the rights of U.S. gun owners.

U.S. gun control as a means to control Mexican drug cartel border violence ignores the root of the problem, which is the lawless greed of the drug traders. Asking U.S. gun owners to sacrifice their 2nd Amendment rights does nothing to assuage greed or calm violence.

The U.S. should support Calderon’s effort to stop the drug wars, but not with U.S. gun control.

Clarion-Ledger 4/5/9