It’s no small news that the U.S. is currently fighting a political war over the rights of people to own and use guns in the country. This age-old struggle has reached a head and is causing quite the stir. But the debate over what we do here in the states has attracted some outside voices in the form of the Mexican government. Statistics show that approximately 70% of the guns that make their way into the hands of Mexico’s criminal organizations are bought from sources in the United States and now that the gun control debate has become serious again, Mexico is asking that we tighten up our laws in order to help protect innocent lives in their own country.
Since pretty much anyone can buy and sell guns as they please, or at least easily circumvent the laws currently in place, weapons make their way across the border on a regular basis. Gun dealers in the U.S. seem to care little for whom the guns end up going to or how many innocents will be killed with them. And these aren’t just typical guns that any household gun owner or hunter might have. We’re talking military-grade assault weapons. Another statistic shows that there was a definitive rise in the number of deaths in Mexico following the expiration of the U.S. assault weapon ban in 2004, further emphasizing our role in their war against the cartels.
This isn’t the first time that the Mexican government has tried to make their displeasure known, but for the most part all requests to tighten controls on guns in the U.S. have been ignored. Opposition to stricter gun controls says that what we do here in the U.S. would have little bearing on the violence and that cartels would simply go someplace else to buy their weapons. Those in the middle say that the relaxed attitude towards guns in the U.S. has contributed to the problem but that the main issue lies in the corruption that is rampant throughout the Mexican government.
The question has to be asked, however, of whether we need to consider our neighbor’s problems when dealing with our own laws. Can we consider ourselves to be responsible people if we allow tens-of-thousands of innocents to be slain with our guns, simply because they’d be dying with someone else’s guns if not ours? At what point do we decide that human lives are indeed more important than guns?