Should U.S. Gun Manufacturers Be Held Responsible For The Ongoing Violence In Mexico?
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Thread: Should U.S. Gun Manufacturers Be Held Responsible For The Ongoing Violence In Mexico?

  1. #1
    Gunco Regular jfreakofkorn's Avatar
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    Default Should U.S. Gun Manufacturers Be Held Responsible For The Ongoing Violence In Mexico?

    Mexican criminals use guns from the U.S. According to a report from Council on Foreign Relations Latin America analyst Julia Sweig, “The flow of high-powered weaponry from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean exacerbates soaring rates of gun-related violence in the region and undermines U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.” In her report, Sweig argues, “U.S. civilian firearms market continues to supply the region’s transnational criminal networks with high-powered weaponry that is purchased with limited oversight, especially from unlicensed individuals at gun shows, flea markets, pawn shops, and on the Internet. Lax U.S. gun laws enable straw purchasers…to legally procure thousands of AK-47 and AR-15 variants every year and traffic them across the border to sell them illegally to criminal factions.”

    In the last few weeks gun violence in Mexico has received heightened media attention as armed enforcers working for drug cartels attacked federal police convoys, assassinated a senior Navy official, and opened fire on a peaceful anti-violence protest. Mexico’s government has sent thousands of soldiers to patrol the hills of Michoacan where these attacks took place, but has been unable to stop criminal groups from arming themselves with guns purchased in the U.S.

    According to a study by San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute, more than a quarter of a million weapons purchased in the United States are transported south across the border every year. The study, “The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the U.S.-Mexico Border,” explains that the value of the annual smuggling trade is $127.2 million.

    According to a report from U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer and Sheldon Whitehouse, over 70% of the 29,284 firearms the Mexican government submitted to the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for tracing during 2009 and 2010 originated in the United States.

    The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported that between January 2007 and December 2011 68,000 guns from the U.S. were recovered in Mexico. One CNN report explained that “the staggering numbers of U.S. weapons that end up in Mexico show that something must be done to control arms smuggling.”

    In 2011 as drug violence escalated south of the U.S. border, Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, explained, “Congress has been virtually moribund while powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to gain unfettered access to military-style firearms coming from the United States.”

    Charles Schumer voiced his opinion that “It is still too easy for Mexican drug lords to get their hands on deadly military-grade weapons within our borders.”
    “We need to redouble our efforts to keep violent firearms out of the hands of these traffickers,” he said.

    As the death toll rose in cities in northern Mexico, former Mexican president Felipe Calderon said “There are more than 7,000 gun stores along the border with Mexico where anyone can buy. If you don’t regulate the sale of arms in the right way, nothing guarantees that the criminals won’t have access to these.”

    Mexican lawmakers have implemented tough gun control laws but are unable to stem the southward flow of weapons. When a former U.S. Marine was arrested after crossing the Texas border with an antique shotgun, Hertigage Foundation Latin America analyst Ray Walser wrote “No one disputes Mexico’s sovereign right to protect itself from the illegal gun trade [but] Our innate sense of fairness and compassion extends to [the detained marine] and others like him, especially when their treatment offends our sense of dignity and the proposed punishment far exceeds the alleged crime. In such cases, the Obama Administration would be well advised not to hide behind the mask of diplomatic doubletalk.”

    According to the Trans-Border Institute study, “Mexico does not manufacture small arms, light weapons or ammunition in sizable quantity. Moreover, Mexico has some of the most restrictive gun legislation in the world. It is assumed that a considerable proportion of weapons in Mexico are illegal, most having been trafficked from the United States.” With gun sales of Mexican-bound guns tallying up to hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the last decade, investors with an interest in corporate social responsibility might ask what role (if any) U.S. gun manufacturers should play in helping to stop the guns they produce from being sold to “straw purchasers” and shipped south across the border to Mexico. After all, many socially responsible investors might balk at the idea of profiting from gun sales, especially gun sales that lead to violent crime in Mexico.

    Financial reports from publicly traded U.S.-based weapons companies provide investors with some information on this issue. According to Sturm Ruger’s annual report for 2012, “Foreign sales were less than 6% of the Company’s consolidated net sales for each of the past three fiscal years.” (Sturm Ruger reported net sales of $454 million in 2012.) Smith & Wesson’s 2012 annual report explains that in 2012 gun sales in Latin America accounted for just under nine percent of the company’s total international sales. These companies’ aggregated export sales totals, however, are likely to drastically underestimate the companies’ real exports to Mexico and Latin America, since they do not include guns that are purchased by intermediaries in the U.S. and illegally shipped across the border. Likewise, U.S.-based ammunition manufacturer Olin Corp reported net sales of $2.2 billion in 2012. It is very difficult for investors to find precise data on what percentages of U.S.-produced weapons and ammunition are illegally smuggled into Mexico.

    Overall, in terms of shareholder returns, Smith & Wesson and Ruger both offer a sizable upside for investors. Smith & Wesson reported an annualized return of 16% over the decade through December, 2012 and Sturm Ruger reported a rate of return of 21%. By contrast, the Russell 2000 small-cap index to which both companies belong reported returns of under 10% over the same period. Still, many investors may feel uncomfortable about the notion of profiting from gun sales. J. Richard Kushel, senior managing director at BlackRock, a company that manages funds that include gun stocks, said that his company also manages “about $226 billion of portfolios that [he] would broadly group as ‘socially responsible,’ based on client-defined criteria.”

    “On behalf of clients, we are excluding things that clients think don’t match their ethical beliefs and guidelines,” he said. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the U.S.’s biggest pension funds, voted to sell off its holdings of weapons companies in early 2013. Public pension funds in New York, Massachusetts and Chicago have also taken steps in this same direction.

    U.S. laws implemented in 2010 require all firearms dealers in Southwest border states report to sales made to one purchaser within a five-day period of two or more semiautomatic center-fire rifles of a caliber greater than .22. A recent post on the National Rifle Association (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action’s site explained the group’s view that “The result of this program is the registration of gun owners who choose to purchase more than one firearm at a time and significant additional paperwork burdens for dealers.” Offensive to the NRA, current U.S. legislation is also ineffective at stopping organized gun smugglers who employ teams of buyers over long periods of time. Current legislation does not stop gun smugglers who are willing to travel north away from the southern border states.

    According to the Council on Foreign Relations’ report, “The United States is one of three countries that have not ratified the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA). In addition to requiring parties to criminalize the illegal manufacture, import, or export of high-powered weapons, the treaty encourages information exchange and cooperation on initiatives including the marking and tracing of weapons and the identification of criminal transit routes.” U.S. legislators have also declined to expand background checks on firearms sales and have refused to make straw purchasing a federal crime.

    With U.S. legislators unable or unwilling to enact legislation that could help stop the flow of guns across the border into Mexico, the question for investors is whether U.S. gun manufactures have any responsibility to help stop the illegal weapons trade that helps fuel the violence in Mexico.

    Smith & Wesson provided an 80% return to shareholders last year. Many investors hold the company’s stock in their 401K plans and are profiting from the company’s recent sales success. A recent New York Times article explains, “If you go through the exercise of unraveling the holdings in your own retirement account, college fund or — if you’re lucky — trust fund, there is a reasonable chance you will find that Smith & Wesson is, at least indirectly, among your own investments.”

    Adam Kanzer, the managing director of Domini Social Investments, a company which excludes weapons companies from its own mutual funds, said “We don’t need to finance violence in order to invest in our retirement accounts.”

  2. #2
    GuncoHolic Tommo's Avatar
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    Hell no! Most of the guns there did not come form the US except those sent there by Obama and Holder.

  3. #3
    The Anti-Terrorist Abukai08's Avatar
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    This myth has been debunked but they continue to run with it.

    Stratfor has already published the true findings from a report that 90% of guns in Mexico came from the U.S. in 2009. Here is an excerpt from the article linked above.

    "According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States."

    Only Washington D.C. style math can make 3,480 90% of 30,000. This type of journalism is done by hacks looking to sell stories and get a chance to kiss the president's ring.

    Although Mexico has extremely tight gun control laws most gun related deaths are attributed to .22 Caliber weapons (which are LEGAL in Mexico) and many other "military" style guns are stolen or or purchased from the Police and Military. This is another case of "Blame the U.S.". The culture of corruption that exists in Mexico is the biggest problem not the availability of guns in the United States. Black market weapons flow almost unimpeded through Central and South America and many of those are traded or sold along with narcotics to the Cartels in Mexico and in Central America.

    I have a thought, If these people pulled their heads out of their asses long enough to do real research and not do whatever their masters tell them to do I would be inclined to call them journalists. As it stands I will continue to call them "Useful Idiots" just like Comrade Lenin would have. What a bunch of jokes...
    "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" -Thomas Jefferson-

    "Our rights come from our humanity and may not be legislated away -- not by a vote of Congress, not by the consensus of our neighbors, not even by agreement of all Americans but one." Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

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  5. #4
    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    the question should be

    "should the US GOVERNMENT be held accountable for guns in the hands of drug cartels and the violence of US GOVERNMENT armed gangs?"

    it really looks stupid to blame american citizens for violence in mexico. and it looks even more stupid when it is the US government policy to ARM drug cartels.

    another question we should be asking is

    "why is the US government ARMING drug cartels and leftist factions in mexico and central america?"

    there should be a real stink in the media about this --if we had a real news media that is and not a government owned propaganda machine.

    i doubt any of the networks will look into it.

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