U.S. Gun Industry Feeds
Gun Violence on U.S./Mexico Border, Violence Policy Center Analyst Tells
Proliferation of Military-Style Guns "Fit Like Gloves on the Bloody Hands
of Drug Lords"
regulation of the U.S. civilian gun market and the gun industry’s focus
on increasingly lethal military-style firearms have combined to fuel the
drug war in Mexico and violence in the United States, Violence Policy
Center (VPC) Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz told a Congressional subcommittee
today. For a copy of Diaz's testimony, please see http://www.vpc.org/diaztestify.pdf.
"If one wanted
to design a system to pour military-style guns into criminal hands, it
would be hard to find a better one than the U.S. civilian gun market,"
Diaz testified before the Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign
Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform. "The only 'better' way would be openly selling
guns to criminals from the loading docks of manufacturers and importers."
Diaz pointed out that
officials of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
(ATF) have stated that Mexican drug lords increasingly seek military-style
weapons easily available on the U.S. civilian market. These include: the
Barrett 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifle capable of piercing armor plate
from a mile and a half; semiautomatic assault rifles, including variants
of the Colt AR-15 and the Kalashnikov AK-47; and, the "vest-busting"
anti-armor handgun the FN Herstal Five-seveN 5.7mm pistol, known as the
"cop killer" in Mexico.
The VPC has issued
numerous studies on the increasing military-bred lethality of civilian
firearms in the United States and on the lax regulation of the U.S. gun
market. These are available at the website www.vpc.org.
"The U.S. gun
market doesn’t just make gun trafficking in military-style weapons to
drug cartels and their criminal associates in the United States easy,"
said Diaz, "it practically compels that traffic. Lax regulation of
the U.S. gun market and the gun industry's ruthless design choices fit
like gloves on the bloody hands of the drug lords and their criminal gang
Diaz told the subcommittee
that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder could immediately
direct ATF to strictly exercise its statutory authority to stop the importation
of all semiautomatic assault rifles as "non-sporting" weapons
under existing provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.