Gun Industry Feeds Violence on U.S./Mexico Border, Violence Policy Center Tells Congress

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mandy Wimmer, Communications Associate, 202-822-8200 x110, mwimmer@vpc.org             

Gun Industry Feeds Violence on U.S./Mexico Border, Violence Policy Center Tells Congress

Weak Regulation, Proliferation of Military-Style Guns “Fit Like Gloves on The Bloody Hands of Drug Lords”

WASHINGTON - Weak 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
associates.”

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.

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The Violence Policy Center is a national tax-exempt educational organization working for a safer America through research, investigation, analysis, and advocacy. The VPC provides information to policymakers, journalists, organizations, advocates, and the general public.

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