Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mexico & Guns

I love Mexico. Being from Alaska I'm not one to hit Tijuana, but going further South and inland you certainly find a great people who are extremely kind, generous and live in a beautiful environment. And the food carts!! :P I love it all, and wish our country diverted half the money we spend on rebuilding the Middle East to helping our next door neighbors here in America (I am, of course, referring to the central part - the Canadians seem fine).

It's with interest, then, that I read two articles about Mexico and guns today.

The first is by the esteemed David Kopel, writing on the Volokh Conspiracy, about a paper he just wrote examining gun control in Mexico and cross-border trade. You can read the lengthy paper here. In it, he not only gives an accounting of Mexican gun laws, but also details the role that North American arms have played in Mexico, and an exhaustive review of the data on gun tracing. Conclusions are not surprising to those of you who may keep tabs on this data already, but it certainly is a fine and formal body of work in this area that's now part of the record and conversation.

Second, it's perhaps a coincidence that the NRA-ILA points us to an AP article today detailing the Mexican government's requirement that the armed rurales out in Michoacan join a form of state-sanctioned militia, or "rural defense corps". If you haven't been following this, fed-up citizens have banded together to resist the abuses of a cartel in their state, a la The Three Amigos (but without the light-hearted Amigos and Germans). These "vigilantes" are filling a vacuum that the state was unable to fill, or at worst, was complicit in supporting. As Max Weber described in Gewaltmonopol des Staates, the first priority of the state is to establish and secure a monopoly on the use of force. In Mexico, it seems this form of legitimacy has always been in doubt. Is it any wonder, then, that citizens take matters into their own hands?

It may or may not be ironic that these stories come profiled against the Bundy standoff in Nevada and the continuing disobedience to the recent gun laws in Connecticut and New York.

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