There may good reasons for deploying the National Guard along the U.S.-Mexican border, but illegal firearms isn't one of them.
The administration recently launched a study to examine whether
soldiers should patrol the Southern border to staunch the flow of
firearms headed for drug dealers in Latin America. The silence you hear
is the concern about armed drug gangs headed here. In short, the
administration seems more concerned about the guns going south than the
non-citizens streaming north.
"We're going to examine whether and if National Guard deployment
would make sense," the president said. We look forward to seeing the
Stopping vicious Mexican drug gangs is surely a noble goal, as those gangs killed an estimated 6,000 people in Mexico
last year. We also have a serious gang problem. The U.S. Department of
Justice now estimates that 80 percent of U.S. crime is linked to gangs
Yet, at least part of the president's plan is doomed to fail:
Stopping Mexican gangs from getting guns will prove as difficult as
stopping them from getting the drugs that they sell.
We are losing the drug war. Despite Mexico's strenuous efforts, our
neighbor hasn't been able to stop the transnational flow of drugs
through Mexico from other Latin American countries. Our own government
hasn't done much better stopping contraband.
We won't do any better with guns. The drugs are extremely valuable
and drug lords have many enemies, ranging from governments to rival
gangs. So gangs have powerful incentives to own guns-to defend their
lives and property-and access to vast smuggling networks.
Even digging a moat between the U.S. and Mexico wouldn't stop the
flow of guns. Consider the experience of island nations -Ireland,
Jamaica, and the United Kingdom- all of which saw murder rates climb
after guns were banned. In the land of the disarmed, the one-gun man is
Certainly the Mexicans deserve our help when they investigate and
prosecute gun murders in their country, just as we deserve their aid
when we prosecute drug kingpins here. If we are going to talk about
deploying armies on the border, shouldn't the administration ask the
Mexicans to deploy their army to stem the tide of migrants headed here?