As immigrants flow across the U.S. border, American guns go south

As immigrants flow across the U.S. border, American guns go south

This Jan. 17, 2008 file photo, South bound vehicles leave El Paso, Texas and enter Juarez, Mexico at the Bridge of the Americas international port of entry. (Rudy Gutierrez / AP) Among the thousands of immigrants who have been coming across the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, many are seeking to escape gang and drug violence raging in their homelands. The weapon of choice used to intimidate them? Often an American-made gun. While the flow of drugs and immigrants into the U.S. has been well-documented for decades and become a regular part of the political debate, what is often overlooked is how gangs and drug cartels exploit weaknesses at the border to smuggle guns from the U.S. into Latin America. No compatible source was found for this media. A 2013 report by the University of San Diego says the number of firearms smuggled from the United States was so significant that nearly half of American gun dealers rely on that business to stay afloat. On average, an estimated 253,000 firearms each year are purchased in the United States expressly to be sent to Mexico, the report said, the vast majority of the sales originating in the border states of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Once in Mexico, the weapons end up in the hands of drug cartels or get shipped to gangs in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — countries that are dealing with an epidemic of gun violence. Armed holdups on public transportation are a regular occurrence […]

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