Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nuance In Five Easy Steps

I've complained when U.S. courts rely on foreign or unenforceable or subordinated international law. (That's why I welcomed the Supreme Court's recent Medellin v. Texas decision.) But what on earth could explain this "shoddy" ABC News story faulting the Bill of Rights' alleged assault on Mexico?:
U.S. Guns Arming Mexican Drug Gangs; Second Amendment to Blame?

Officials: More Than 90 Percent of Weapons Used by Mexico's Drug Gangs Come From the U.S.

U.S. gun stores and gun shows are the source of more than 90 percent of the weapons being used by Mexico's ruthless drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

"It's a war going on in Mexico, and these types of firearms are the weapons of war for them," said Bill Newell, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix field division of the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has primary law enforcement jurisdiction for investigating gun trafficking to Mexico.

"It's virtually impossible to buy a firearm in Mexico as a private citizen, so this country is where they come," said Newell. But U.S. efforts to stop the smuggling of tens of thousands of guns to Mexico, including high-powered assault weapons, have been hampered by lenient American gun laws and the Bush administration's failure to give priority to anti-gun smuggling efforts, officials tell ABC News for a report Tuesday on ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson." . . .

Mexico's strict gun laws are being subverted by the easy availability of weapons in the U.S., the Mexican attorney general, Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza, told ABC News. "The Second Amendment," said the attorney general, "is certainly not designed to arm and give fire power to organized crime abroad." . . .

Assault weapons made in China and Eastern Europe, resembling the AK-47, have become widely and cheaply available in the U.S. since Congress and the Bush administration refused to extend a ban on such weapons in 2004. . . .

The drug cartels' weapons of choice include variants of the AK-47, .50-caliber sniper rifles and a Belgian-made pistol called the "cop killer" or "mata policia" because of its ability to pierce a bulletproof vest.

"It's in high demand by your violent drug cartels, their assassins in Mexico," said Newell of the ATF. The gun can fire a high-powered round used in a rifle.
ABC helpfully supplies some photos, including the uncaptioned pic that heads the story:

source: ABC News

and another labeled "Mexican Drug Gangs' Weapons of Choice":

source: ABC News

But as usual, it's a bad cop. Were the MSM capable of objectivity, the Second Amendment would beat the rap:
  1. Blame it on Cain: Contrary to ABC's implication, President Bush favored extending the assault weapon ban (see Section 110102), which expired by its own terms in 2004.

  2. "Semi-right" is simply wrong: As Confederate Yankee's Bob Owens observes, the lead photo shows an automatic weapon, the M-60. Automatic weapons are classed as machine guns under 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b), and outlawed for civilian sale in the U.S. (see 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(4), (o)(1)) since 1986, independent of the expired ban on some semi-automatic weapons.

    The weapons laid out in the second picture, Owens notes, consist mainly of "SBRs (short-barreled rifles), . . . what appears to be no less than 4 M-203 grenade launchers, and at least 20 40mm grenades." Such weapons are considered "destructive devices" under 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(4) and 26 U.S.C. § 5845(f), and similarly normally cannot be sold to civilians under U.S. law.

    I get it--ABC's alarmed about some weapons. But their availably in Mexico has nothing to do with either the sun-setting of the ban on some semi-automatic weapons or, of course, the Second Amendment itself. (I'm not in full agreement with Owens' assertion that the assault weapons ban didn't cover "AK-pattern" weapons, but thankfully this dispute--which turns on a vague distinction between "pattern" and "replicas," as well as the meaning of a tortured sentence in Section 110102 ("The fact that a firearm is not listed in Appendix A shall not be construed to mean that paragraph (1) applies to such firearm.")--was mooted by the expiration of the ban.)

  3. More ammunition: ABC also fingers America for the vest piercing ammo available South of the border. But such armor piercing ammunition (see 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(17)(B)) already can't be sold to most U.S. civilians (see 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(7-8)). Again, how can the Second Amendment be faulted?
Conclusion: Come the revolution, their law will apply here and our law won't apply anywhere. Being a nuanced Dem or a liberal reporter has never been easier:
Step One: Blame America, especially for the acts of terrorists.

Step Two: Blame Bush, especially for policies backed by Congressional Democrats.

Step Three: Blame the Constitution's text (see Baze v. Rees (Apr. 16, 2008) (Scalia, J., concurring in the judgment, discussing concurrence of Stevens, J.); instead, enforce its penumbras or some other country's laws.

Step Four: Should steps one, two and three fail, blame global warming.

Step Five: Repeat steps one through four until you win the White House.


OBloodyHell said...

OK, while I applaud you on your deconstruction of an incompetently reasoned news piece, I want to chide you for one thing:

Not stressing the point that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with crime -- either here or in Mexico.

The stated basis by the Founding Fathers for the right to bear arms (Federalist #46) is as a final stopgap providing citizen control of the Federal Government.

Crime is irrelevant to its specifically stated reason -- more important than ever before in US History -- to keep the Fed under our final control. To retain the power to say, as the citizenry of this nation -- "This is enough. This far and no farther." We are a long, long way from that point, but the history of the nations of this world show that it's possible to go from a benign and reasonable state to a warlike dictatorship in somewhat less than 20 years. All it takes is the failure of a single generation to safeguard their rights as the citizens of the nation to control and limit its actions.

This cannot be stressed enough.

I believe it's possible to demonstrate than almost all gun-control laws provide little more than the illusion of safety while generally exacerbating crime issues -- but this is, for reasons above utterly irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

You sure do have a great blog, Carl.

Carl said...




Actually, we disagree on this issue. While overturning tyranny is morally justified, the Constitution is the source of the legal authority of the United States. It neither provides for the government's dissolution nor is "a suicide pact." So, as I have said:

"I'm unpersuaded by the argument that the Second Amendment should be interpreted as facilitating the ability of the people to overturn the Constitution by force. We need not go that far, because of the related and more "sell-able" position that the Amendment reflects the facts that neither national nor state government can promise citizens absolute protection from evil. See Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982) (Posner, J.) ("there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution.") Then, the danger was from Indian tribes. Later, the danger was from foreign invaders. And at all times, there was danger from criminals. The right to bear arms accordingly should be viewed as consistent with, and in support of, limited government."

Birdzilla said...

I suppose those mexicans will demand we repeal our 2nd amendment and instigate the same gun bans as they have and these mexica blowhards will blame the NRA as well SCREW MEXICO