Gun enthusiasts say the millions of guns that flow across the border illegally for use by drug cartels in their war against the Mexican government must stop if mass killers in the U.S. are to reach the success level they're capable of.
"Right now, can an unstable young man in the United States be all that he can be when he's ready to start spraying random people with bullets? I don't think so," says Grit Thorniker, president of the American Alliance for Personal Weapons Rights. "Our gun manufacturers are already operating at maximum capacity. Once more deranged loners come out of the woodwork, will we be able to meet their needs?"
Exact figures are hard to come by because of the nature of illegal gun transfers, but U.S. authorities estimate that at least one million guns, including valuable automatic and semi-automatic weapons, flow to Mexico each year. Most of these weapons end up in the hands of the powerful drug cartels, which have bulked up on arms in recent years as the war with Mexico's federal government has intensified. The result has been a surge in gun violence in Mexico, at least some of which has come at the expense of gun violence in the U.S.
"Why isn't that violence in Iowa or Kansas?" asks Brafford Cruff, a gun enthusiast in Fready, Nebraska, who tries to buy at least one semi-automatic gun every two months to be ready, he says, for when the United States government tries to take away Americans' freedom. "I mean, mass carnage in Ixtapaluca is fine, and everything, but it's just wrong that our own federal government allows guns to flow out of this country. Do the Feds not think we can put these guns to good use against innocent people right here at home?"
Mexican officials say close to 1,000 people a month are killed in their country as a result of the federal government's war on the cartels, with virtually all of those killings done by American-made guns that are shipped illegally across the border. Mexican President Felipe Calderon and President Barack Obama have met several times on the issue, but a solution remains illusive. President Obama says his administration has ramped up efforts to curb the gun flow, but Mexican officials say Washington isn't doing enough.
"The United States is the key to solving the bloodshed," says Jose de Gortari, head of a citizens against gun violence group in Mexico City. "The cartels, they get rich sending millions of dollars worth of drugs to the United States each month and then they turn around and import millions of dollars worth of guns into our country to protect their franchise. It's a vicious circle that we cannot close without the help of the Americans."
Mexican citizens who've endured years of bloody confrontation between the cartels and the government aren't the only ones who want the flow of guns to stop. Americans who want to ensure that crazy loners have sufficient firepower to kill as many random people as possible want it to stop, too. "There are weirdos on the Internet right now who are plotting how they're going to make headlines by their act of senseless killings," says Clem Bloffer of the American Alliance for Personal Weapons Rights. "When they're ready to move, will they have the right tools available to them? You can't be an effective mass killer of innocent people with a pistol, you know. Even a simple rifle won't do it. Today's psycho killers need the best available weapons in their arsenal, and its just not clear that these weapons will be available to them if they're all down in Mexico. This lunacy must stop."
Beverly Gliss-Mason, a manicurist in Reynard, Idaho, says she plans to vote against President Obama in November because of what she calls his fecklessness on the issue. "My boyfriend last week tried to make a video of himself posing with a bunch of automatic weapons but, big surprise, thanks to Obama's incompetence the price of machine guns is going through the roof, and you know why? Because Obama lets the guns pour into Mexico for cheap, so they can do all the killing they want. But my boyfriend, who's got a good job and all at the mini-mart, can't fricken' afford to buy a semi-automatic weapon? And that's just for his video! What's he gonna do when it comes time to 'do it?' What is he supposed to do, go out there with a fricken' BB gun? You can't live a fantasy life with a BB gun. We need our guns to stay where they're made, and that's right here in the U.S.A."