Legal Issues

Mexican President Tells the U.S.A. “No More Weapons” With Huge Sign

Welder welding letters

Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke at the unveiling of a huge sign reading “No More Weapons.” Located in the city of Juarez, the sign faces towards the U.S. and is constructed from thousands of confiscated firearms which have been melted and welded together to form the letters.

No More Weapons Sign
President Felipe Calderon speaks in front of the No More Weapons sign
Calderon stated in his speech, “Dear friends of the United States, Mexico needs your help to stop this terrible violence that we’re suffering. The best way to do this is to stop the flow of automatic weapons into Mexico.” The Mexican government claims that the flow of weapons from the United States to Mexico can reach up to 2,000 firearms a day. Fifty thousand people have been killed in vicious fighting between government forces and drug cartels in the past five years. That’s 10 times as many deaths as U.S. forces suffered in nearly a decade of war in Iraq. Our government claims that 70% of all confiscated weapons in Mexico can be traced to the United States. Independent analysis shows that the 70% figure reflects a percentage of firearms trace requests made from the Mexican government to ours. Because only firearms that are likely to be traced to the U.S. civilian market undergo the trace process, the percentage of total weapons coming across the border is still truly unknown. There is no point in submitting a trace request to the BATFE for a fully-automatic Chinese AK with no markings in English, or a Russian PKM machine gun. One independent analysis found that only 17% of firearms found at Mexican crime scenes are ever successfully traced back to the U.S.A.

Welder welding guns together
A worker welds melted guns to form a letter. Look closely and you can see two Uzis and at least three HK G3 receivers. Did they come from the USA?
Mexican gun laws are extremely strict. Legal possession of firearms greater than .22 LR caliber is nearly impossible unless you are wealthy and well-connected. Nevertheless, the country is most certainly awash in illegal weapons of all kinds, including belt-fed heavy machine guns, large-caliber sniper rifles, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. In many parts of the country, the government’s presence is severely outweighed by the heavily armed drug cartels, who not only out-gun the legitimate government but can easily out-spend it as well. Watchdog groups have concluded that the cartel’s intelligence gathering abilities far outstrip the Mexican government’s capabilities. This means the drug lords know more about the police and military forces chasing them than the police know about the cartels, and the situation is getting worse. Corruption is rampant; around 150,000 Mexican troops have defected to the cartels in the past five years, most of them taking their American government supplied service rifles with them.

Last year President Obama responded to Calderon’s pleas for tighter restrictions on American gun sales. The BATFE now requires gun dealers in states bordering Mexico to report all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles to the same person within five business days. The report is only triggered if the rifles are larger than .22 LR caliber and use detachable magazines. BATFE agents have been visiting the addresses of buyers whose names appear on the reports to check if they are re-selling those firearms without paperwork. The NRA and a group of federally licensed dealers in the southwest have sued the BATFE over the reporting requirement, claiming that there is no legal authorization anywhere in the Federal Code for the reports.

Calderon referenced the expired federal “assault weapons ban” in his speech in front of the “No More Weapons” sign last week. He concluded by saying, “The best way you can help to reduce the violence in Mexico is with a law that was previously in effect, and that will stop this inhumane trafficking of arms into Mexico. No More Weapons!” Calderon, Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and others seem to believe that a ban on certain rifle features such as bayonet lugs, flash hiders, and folding stocks will somehow stop the flow of machine guns, grenades, and rocket launchers into Mexico. On the other hand, the Mexican cartels now have decades of experience successfully smuggling illegal contraband drugs all over the world, and returning an almost limitless supply of cash money from the sale of those drugs back into their own pockets. They can and do use this money to buy anything that is for sale, anywhere, and have it brought back to them through the same channels that traffic in drugs.

In this writer’s personal opinion, changing the Federal gun laws which affect only the law-abiding civilian market in the U.S. will have no effect on the ability of these powerful crime organizations to procure weapons of war. Considering the vast resources of the cartels and their worldwide smuggling network, even a total ban on all firearm sales in the U.S. would have a negligible impact on cartel-related violence in Mexico. In many parts of Mexico the cartels are the de facto law of the land, and they rule over the law-abiding citizenry with an iron fist of terror. I stand with a small but growing Mexican grassroots movement asking Mexico to allow its good citizens to defend themselves against the cartels, and join with their legitimately elected government in pushing back the power of the criminals. In my opinion, building a naive sign blaming the north for Mexico’s troubles only shows more weakness on the part of Calderon, who is clearly looking for a way to keep the cartels from gaining total control. Platitudes such as this sign, and even the BATFE’s multiple sales reporting requirement here, are simply publicity stunts to make politicians look good for a fifteen second TV news blub, and distract the people’s attention from the fact that those politicians have no tangible plan at all to solve Mexico’s problems. The Mexican government needs to stop grandstanding and make real changes to win the support of its own people. They must ask for real help from the international community in combating these powerful criminals whose reach extends around the whole world, or they risk Mexico becoming the Afghanistan of Central America.

If you could build a huge sign to point from your town towards the city of Juarez, what would it read? What would you tell Calderon? What would you tell the people of Mexico?

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Comments (37)

  1. They should take that stupid sign and plant it in Eric Holder’s front yard. Real Americans don’t part with their weapons willingly. Them government critters? Now, that’s a different story. SOLD!! To the highest Bidder!

  2. I’d put up a sign that says “No More Mexicans!”… the best thing we can do is build a giant wall between Mexico and the US with deep walls underground to prevent tunneling… then kill the “wet feet” law to prevent them from trying to get into the USA just in time to pop out their instant citizen babies. If you really want to do it up right, round up all the illegals that are here now and put them in work camps and make them build the wall for us. I mean they are here illegal in our country… they are criminals, might as well make them do some ol fashion chain gang work or face long periods of time in border prisons.

    Prevent the easy crossing with a wall and the gun trafficking, drug trafficking and human trafficking will stop! Use that paint with metal flakes and metal fibers in it that conduct electricity and make the whole thing electrified. The we can focus on catching just the drug and gun runners and not have to worry about Juan trying to cross over just to find his family or steal one of our jobs that AMERICANS are needing really bad now.

    Yes, we need fruit/veggie pickers. Make them file for work permits to work them and a temporary social security number so they can pay discounted taxes on their wages… no foodstamps, no medicare and no free education. They come, they work, they pay small bit on taxes for the chance to work here and they take their money back home and provide for their families. A family of 12 can live a lot cheaper over there off of their wages than trying to make it here and taxing our welfare system to death.

    Yep… my sign would read, NO MORE MEXICANS!

  3. You point is well said but that was the ATF that pulled that BS and as a result 2 agents were killed. As tom said a regular citizen can go into a gunshop and buy full auto rifles unless they have a class 3. There’s only so much FFLs can do and people who want firearms KNOW THE LAW before they buy.

  4. They should have put that sign in front of ATF and DOJ HQ since they are the ones sending those weapon’s over there. And then they need to tell their own military to quit selling weapons to the cartels. As for a sign facing Mexico, “You Can’t Fix Stupid” or in their case “No Puede Arreglar Estupido”

  5. @ Chevy, unfortunately, i speak from first-hand knowledge, not from reading something online…we’re not talking about automatic weapons, we’re talking about assault weapons,in fact, in the speech in question, there was no mention of automatic weapons. for the system to ID straw purchases, i am stating that I think there needs to be a system in place (like the one currently used) that can flag suspicious purchases, and I wouldn’t mind answering some follow-up questions if I bought multiple firearms in a short period as I have nothing to hide.

  6. @ rrchavez if you knew ANYTHING about which you speak, they DO have a system to recognize straw purchases and there is a limit on how many guns one can seal at a time to a citizen of the U.S.
    but NO ONE can buy full auto weapons on the damn day they purchase them.
    It takes a form 1 or form 4 and 6-9 months after the background is done for a NFA weapon!!!!
    God Damnit people, READ A F’n BOOK!!!!!!!

  7. I live in deep South Texas a few miles from the Rio Grande and from my perspective, there is a huge flow of weapons moving from here into Mexico. I have personally been in a local sporting goods store and witnessed on several occasions people buying multiple assault type rifles who were obviously intending to resell them across the border. I think there needs to be some type of system in place to identify these “straw purchases”. I realize this is something a lot of readers here will object to, but personally speaking, if I am buying multiple guns in a short period of time, I wouldn’t mind answering some follow up questions. I think this is a far cry from all the supposed new firearm regulations that the Obama administration was going to impose according to many people prior to the ’08 election. Another thing desperately needed are south-bound inspections at the border to stem the flow of not only weapons but cash going back to the cartels. props to CTD on exploring a very important issue….

  8. @ Mark Watson: The cartels are the Kennedys of the late 20th and early 21st century…. The Kennedys made most of their money running rum and hijacking cargoes during Prohibition….along with quite a few other illegal activities. Do away with the prohibition on drugs, and the cartels go away.

    @ Steiner: The U.S. IS responsible for at least 2800 weapons that have found their way south… are you forgetting about “Operation Fast & Furious” along with the operations that the Bush administration had going on? Our friendly neighborhood PUBLIC SERVANTS looking for excuses to ‘infringe’ upon our rights….

    @ Kimber_Dude: awesome idea…. it’s worked at deterring crime here for over 2 centuries… at least in areas where we aren’t ‘infringed.’

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