“Mexico has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the world, a matter of pride for the nation’s citizens. Yet Mexico is awash in weapons.”

December 29th, 2010

Yeah, that makes sense. From today’s Washington Post, a piece titled Only one gun store, but no dearth of weapons:

In all of Mexico, there is only one gun store. The shop, known officially as the Directorate of Arms and Munitions Sales, is operated by the Mexican military. The clerks wear pressed green camouflage. They are soldiers.

The only gun store in Mexico is not very busy.

To go shopping for a gun in Mexico, customers must come to Mexico City – even if they live 1,300 miles away in Ciudad Juarez. To gain entry to the store, which is on a secure military base, customers must present valid identification, pass through a metal detector, yield to the security wand and surrender cellphones and cameras.

To buy a gun, clients must submit references and prove that their income is honestly earned, that their record is free of criminal charges and that their military obligations, if any, have been fulfilled with honor. They are fingerprinted and photographed. Finally, if judged worthy of owning a small-caliber weapon to protect home and hearth, they are allowed to buy just one. And a box of bullets.

That is actually quite similar to the process of buying a gun in D.C.

See, when you make it so difficult to buy a gun, you create a black market for guns. The Mexican government, I think recognizes this:

The Mexican military has been handling gun sales in strict military fashion since 1995. “Only a tiny percentage of our weapons end up in the hands of criminals,” Manzano said. That percentage, he said, is less than 1.

But Manzano is not a fool. “We have a higher rate of crimes where the weapon involved is coming from the black market, and that happens because in our country, it is much easier to buy a gun on the black market than” at his store, he said.

Ya think?