DO AMERICA’S failed gun policies contribute to the terrible violence in Mexico? Alejandro A. Poire Romero makes a compelling case that the answer is yes.
Law enforcement officials in both countries acknowledge that 70 to 80 percent of the traceable guns seized in Mexico can be tracked to the United States. Mr. Poire Romero, a top Mexican national security and criminal justice official, offers additional evidence that the United States has been an enabler of the violence.
In 2005 roughly one-third of the seized guns were assault weapons. Today, according to Mr. Poire Romero, assault weapons represent 60 to 65 percent of the guns confiscated by Mexican authorities. The assault-weapons ban in the United States lapsed in 2004.
“The significant rise in violence and the increase in the number of public officials killed in Mexico coincides with lifting of the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Poire Romero said.
Mr. Poire Romero met with Post editors and reporters on the day that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was again being grilled on Capitol Hill about “Operation Fast and Furious,” during which U.S. law enforcement agents, in order to trace weapons to higher-ups in a criminal enterprise, failed to interdict guns bought by suspected straw purchasers. The operation, a version of which was undertaken during the George W. Bush administration, was deeply flawed; some 2,000 weapons are unaccounted for. Weapons traced to Fast and Furious purchases were found on the scene of the 2010 killing of a Border Patrol agent. These revelations led to the resignation of the U.S. attorney in Phoenix and reassignment of the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.