Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sen. Kerry makes push for tighter gun control

From what I understand the really nasty weaponry has been coming from Central America.  Another interesting thing, since when do we make illegal items for the sake of another country?

Senators hear how AK-47s make it to Mexico drug gangs | Chronicle | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
Kerry called for a ban on the imports of assault rifles, such as the AK-47, into the United States. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., opposed the idea.

Assault rifles bought in the United States are favorites among cartel gunmen, who find them effective for the urban warfare, William McMahon, deputy assistant director of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the committee. ATF agents have traced many guns confiscated in Mexico to purchases in the United States, McMahon said.

For example, more than 60 guns seized following a shootout among factions of the Tijuana cartel in April 2008 were traced to purchases in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and Denver, McMahon said.

The visiting senators were particularly interested in how much violence was spilling into the United States. Cartel-related killings have occurred in Texas, and cities such as Phoenix are experiencing a rise in kidnappings for ransom, which authorities say are related to debt collection among drug dealers. Mexican cartels have extended their networks into as many as 230 U.S. cities, according to federal law enforcement agencies.

El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza said trafficking rivalries and infighting had little effect on crime in U.S. border towns. During those bloody 14 months in Juarez, El Paso had 20 homicides, Esparza said.

"Austin, Houston, Dallas -- they are not seeing their numbers up" either, said Esparza, who is a past president of an association of Texas prosecutors. "The rhetoric has been escalated and exaggerated."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently asked for 1,000 National Guard troops to be stationed at the border. But Esparza said he didn't think militarizing the border was needed.

"We are safe here in El Paso," Esparza said. "If we see a radical change, I would tell you differently."

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