Update: Scroll to the bottom for more info.
I just don't get it.
David posted at the War on Guns on another round of deceitful reporting on the "Mexico-drug-cartels-getting-guns-at-gun shows" alarmism; this time being reported by Fox News.
This story has been going round and round and round for a long time, and it stinks to high heaven, yet it keeps drawing attention because people still believe what the news tells them. I posted another story about it on Monday.
What are the facts?
Fact: Mexican drug cartels are in an outright war with their government. They are waging this war with the traditional weapons that wars are fought with: anti-tank rockets (M72 LAWs, apparently), RPGs, general purpose machine guns (specifically, the M60), heavy machine guns, mines, grenades, and finally, rifles like the AK47 (of the automatic kind, mostly), and M16s (with some AR15s). I'm sure there are weapons like the FN FAL and such, but I have no proof.
Fact: M60s like the one portrayed in this video are not purchased at gun shows; they are rare and expensive in the US ($25,000-$50,000), and are not being sold out of the backs of NRA member's vans here in the states for $100. It just ain't happening. With very rare exception, they are not used by US forces, but they are used by the Mexican Army. That's where the M60s are coming from, not the US.
Fact: M72 LAW (66mm) are no longer used by the US military because we have better equipment. It is, however, used by the Mexican Army. That's where they're getting them.
Fact: RPGs are rare in the US and regulated by the NFA, but you can buy them. The problem is that the rockets for them are regulated by the ATF. You file a bunch of paperwork with the ATF and then go through months of waiting, and on top of that you have to pay a $200 tax stamp - for every rocket, and that's if you can find them. But, RPGs are available for a low low price from Russia, China, and Czechoslovakia, which is where they're getting them.
Fact: Real AK47s and M16s are available in the US. They're subject to the NFA and regulated by the ATF, which keeps prices around $10,000-$15,000 each. That's no counting the $200 tax stamp and the above mentioned ATF paperwork. Cartel members are not buying them at gunshows because nobody is going to sell a rare $15,000 M16 or very rare AK47 for $400. Not happening. You can, of course, get a semi-auto AR15 or Ak47 look-alike for $1,000 at a gun show, which is likely what some of the cartel guys are doing, but the auto weapons are probably coming from Russia, China, Czechoslovakia, and the corrupt Mexican soldiers and police for a more affordable price, and would seem to be more popular.
As far as mines, grenades, and heavy machine machine guns go, they are too rare to be getting in the US; would be subject to the NFA; would be regulated by the ATF; would be prohibitively expensive, but would be way more available and affordable from unscrupulous countries like Russia, China, Czechoslovakia, and corrupt Mexican soldiers and police.
Now, I also see that people are alarmed by the cartel's acquisition of the dreaded FN Five SeveN pistol, which you will notice are used by the Mexican military, but are otherwise available from the US. I wonder where they're more affordable? Some of these cartels may be getting them from us by sending 'straw purchasers' to buy them from gun shows, but such buyers are getting a NICS check to get them, despite what you may have heard in the news. The little 5.7x28mm round may penetrate a Kevlar vest, but not nearly as readily as a rifle round. I would point out that wars are not fought and won using pistols; they're fought and won using rifles.
Honestly, do you think that these massive wealthy cartels have no foreign relationships? Do you really think they're sending gun-buying senoritas to the US to straw purchase premium priced weapons, many of them unobtainable, almost all of them rare, when they could just buy them from one of the many third world former soviet countries by the truckload without any sort of background check whatsoever? Why pay US prices for civilian semi-auto rifles when you can get real full-auto battle rifles for a fraction of the cost. Do you not think that the Mexican government is a major supply for these weapons? The Mexican government is as corrupt as it gets, and they're dirt poor to boot. You think that altruism is going to keep a police chief from handing over a couple of crates of automatic weapons to these cartels if they grease his pockets and refrain from shooting his officers?
If so then your as gullible as it gets.
So the next time you see one of these flaming news articles on your doorstep, pay it no attention because it's definitely full of shit.
Update: A Keyboard and a .45 shows us where the Barrett .50 caliber rifles came from, as well as the probable origin of grenades, dynamite, RPGs, and other splodey things - the Mexican military.
Sailorcurt, cross posting at The Sentinel, reaffirms that the 5.7x28mm rounds for the FN Five SeveN pistol - again, used by the Mexican military - are not coming from the US. If the rounds are coming from Mexico, than it's pretty fair to say that the pistols are coming from there as well. It makes sense considering the .38 Super "Super Guns" are popular in Mexico, and not so much here in the States as Snowflakes in Hell points out.