Civilian firearm possession is illegal in Mexico. But firearms remain ubiquitous due to the steady flow of illicit goods throughout the country. In Mexico’s ongoing insurgency, escalating violence at the border has drawn the Mexican government’s attention to the source of the country’s firearms: smugglers from the United States.
Known as the “Iron River,” millions of firearms have poured into Latin America across the Rio Grande. An estimated 200,000 firearms are smuggled into Mexico annually, fulfilling the bulk of Mexico’s illegal-firearm demand.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reported that “70 percent of firearms reported to have been recovered in Mexico from 2014 through 2018 and submitted for tracing were U.S. sourced.”
Drugs and people move north, firearms and cash move south. The business of cross-border trafficking has carried on for decades, with gangs facing varying degrees of enforcement as they rake in billions of dollars.
The Biden administration’s cruelly ambivalent attitude towards the Southwest has allowed traffickers to proceed with only token resistance from the out-of-favor Border Patrol and a loose confederation of state guards and municipal agencies. The implications of the administration’s cruelty are tough to face: The United States is not only enabling Mexico’s spiraling migrant crisis and floundering federal government, it is the single largest arms supplier to the world’s largest terrorist organizations.
For narco-terror-appeasers in Mexico City, America’s enforcement pullback provides opportunity. Unwilling or unable to secure large swaths of their border with the U.S., filing lawsuits against U.S. firearms manufacturers is a low-risk, politically convenient avenue for Mexico City to shirk blame. Luckily, they’ve found 13 Democratic attorneys general to join their crusade to remove firearms from the North American continent. The lawsuit, filed by Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August and joined by the Democratic attorneys general in February, seeks $10 billion in damages from ten U.S. firearms manufacturers. Hoping to challenge the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, victory in court would deal a catastrophic blow to firearms companies and open the door to similar lawsuits designed to end civilian-firearm manufacturing.
Having overcome her qualms about foreign meddling, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey declared her intent to stand with the Federales against the dastardly manufacturing workers employed at Smith & Wesson in Springfield, MA. Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx, who has dismissed 30 percent felony cases in her jurisdiction, was also happy to join the suit. Of course, she only does so in accordance with her deep commitment to the rule of law.
Conservatives are accustomed to dead-eyed moral pronouncements about gun control from Democrats. From Robert “Beto” O’Rourke to Lori Lightfoot, the Democrats’ gun-blame routine is tried and true. But this Mexico lawsuit strikes this conservative as a new level of gun-control radicalism: Democratic attorneys general siding with Mexico against U.S. companies and workers in their own states to deal a de facto death blow to the 2nd Amendment? It’s shocking. But it ultimately passes the smell test. Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the leader of a systemically corrupt government that turns a blind eye to violence, obfuscates the causes of crime, and disregards the rule of law. So are the leaders of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. It was only a matter of time before the kindred spirits shed their commitments to their fellow citizens and cooperated to make shirking accountability for crime a supranational phenomena.
Corporate media, equally keen for a border-crisis narrative to distract from the Biden administration’s incompetence, have picked up on the gun-control story exciting progressive activists. The two-step strategy seems bullet-proof: First, abandon the border to narco-terrorism. Second, use the ensuing humanitarian disaster as pretext to accomplish Democratic gun-control aims. Something Biden might dub a self-licking ice cream cone.
The Biden administration is uniquely suited for the task, given the former vice president’s time in the Obama White House—the administration responsible for the ATF’s Operation Fast & Furious. If any group of political operatives and career bureaucrats know the deadly costs of illegal gun smuggling, it is the people with the hands-on experience doing it.
Cooperation with a foreign government to demolish a constitutionally protected industry is unprecedented. The modern left professes its commitment to norms but never hesitates to break them. Their willingness to do so, in tandem with lawlessness in Mexico, threatens the constitutional right of Americans to defend themselves. Though firearms manufacturers are among the first to have their civil liberties threatened by the crisis, they undoubtedly won’t be the last. Respect for sovereignty, order, and fundamental rights demand an end to this lawsuit.