Stricter Gun Control Measures to Stop the Bloodshed in Mexico

Living in a relatively safe place such as Ames, it’s often easy for a person to forget the bloody war raging across our country’s southern border. For years, the Mexican government has been fighting desperately to handle vicious drug cartels. In the past, drug trafficking was recognized as a problem but not an issue large enough to grant major attention from the U.S, let alone stopping spring breakers from taking their annual trips to Cancun. Recently, however, the battle between the Mexican government and drug lords has now escalated to a stage that cannot be hid under the covers any longer. Without proper action, the bloodshed in Mexico will just as well creep into our own backyards. The cause and further continuation of the Mexican crisis is directly tied to America. The cartels’ very business is the illegal trafficking of narcotics into the United States. Along with keeping them in business, America is also seeing its guns and weapons leak into the very hands of these ruthless criminals. It is estimated that over 2,000 American weapons travel across the border into Mexico everyday. These weapons have caused a death toll over 7,000 and it’s getting worse. In order to at least relieve some of the violence, the U.S. government needs to impose stricter controls on gun purchasing and flow especially in southern states near the border. Not only does this mean restricting who can purchase guns, but more importantly keeping track of where the guns go after their purchase. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognizes the situation as "our inability to prevent weapons from being smuggled and our insatiable demand for the illegal drugs which fuel the cartels." This assessment of the U.S. role in the conflict is often hard to swallow. The government’s main action so far has been to restrict trade and increase border patrol agents on the border with Mexico. But more border security can only take you so far. In order to hit these criminals were it hurts, drastic action must be taken. It’s obvious that the US weapons are fueling the violence in Mexico. Of the 20,000 drug related firearms seized by the Mexican government, 95% of them were identified to be American made. In 2004, the US ban which restricted the sale of assault weapons expired and as a result it is currently completely legal to posses a licensed assault rifle. To make matters worse, certain American arms dealers are openly and knowingly selling firearms to Mexican drug cartels. No one should expect the violence in Mexico to be resolved if it is this easy for drug cartels to purchase military grade arms. Its America’s thirst for drugs and love for guns that caused and keeps this conflict ongoing. By reinstating the ban on assault weaponry, the first step can be taken in hindering the drug cartel’s ability to make war. Legislation must also be passed that strictly restricts who can purchase a firearm (ie: through background checks and monitoring of activities after a customer purchases the weapon). Valuing the second amendment should not mean the compromise of human life and the potential security of our country. The ban must be reinstated for the safety of the Mexican and American populations. The reach of the Mexican conflict in American soil is becoming evident. A seemingly quiet Midwest town in rural Ohio was discovered to be a hub for the drug trade. The government must impose stricter gun control measures even if that means offending some pro-rifle activists. Furthermore, the penalty for the sale and purchase of illegal weapons must be enforced severely. If action that imposes stricter gun control is not taken, more and more of the corruption, brutal murders, and narcotic trafficking we are accustomed to seeing in Mexico will easily find their way into the U.S. The Mexican war could soon become turn into another American war.