Editor’s Note: I authored the following article in October 2017, but it seems more applicable today than ever before. Enjoy.
Since the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, liberals in Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and the news media have been demanding stricter gun-control laws. Some, including The New York Times’ Bret Stephens, has even called for repealing the Second Amendment as the “only way” to reform an industry “that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts.”
The debate is often cast by those on the left as one between those who don’t care about murder, death, and destruction and those who want to stop it tomorrow with “common sense” gun-control laws. But upon closer examination, it’s clear liberals know the kind of gun control they are constantly advocating for is nothing more than a way to score political points with their donors, because if they truly wanted to enact strict limits on legal gun ownership, they would also have to shut down America’s massive land borders—a position the left has been staunchly opposed to for decades.
Regardless of whether you support enhancing border security at the U.S.-Mexico border, one thing is certain: In its current state, it’s relatively easy to transport illegal weapons in and out of Mexico. According to a 2016 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 70,000 guns recovered from crime scenes in Mexico from 2009 to 2014 originated in the United States, including numerous “high caliber rifles,” which are “the preferred weapon used by drug trafficking organizations.”
A 2013 study published by the University of California at San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and the Igarape Institute estimated an average of 253,000 firearms cross the U.S.-Mexico border annually.
Although most of these weapons are believed to be brought from the United States into Mexico, if liberals were to successfully ban and destroy most guns (a task that is likely impossible at any point in the near future), the numerous organized crime groups trafficking in illicit drugs in northern Mexico would have an entirely new black market to take advantage of. And if it’s possible to transport hundreds of thousands of guns and millions of pounds of drugs in and out of the United States, how difficult would it be to transport millions of guns?
Anti-gun liberals consistently argue that the primarily reason cities and states with harsh gun-control laws continue to face extreme gun-related violence is because guns are being illegally purchased by criminals who obtain weapons in states with few limits. Such a position, whether it’s true or not, when logically extended to a situation in which there are strict national gun-control laws, would require completing closing, at the very least, the U.S.-Mexico border. Otherwise, all the left would be doing is empowering foreign and domestic criminal organizations at the expense of the thousands of gun shops currently in operation throughout the country.
Oh, and let’s not forget about our friendly, gun-loving neighbors to the north. Canada, a nation of only 35 million, has between 10 million and 20 million firearms, and earlier in 2017, the Canadian government reported there are believed to be more than a million prohibited guns in the country, including 183,000 fully automatic guns.
Many Canadian officials believe most of the illegal guns in Canada entered the nation from the United States. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. As the Washington Post noted in 2016, “The country’s 5,526-mile border with the United States makes smuggling into Canada a relatively easy game, particularly in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River regions.”
The evidence is overwhelming: Gun smuggling is already happening on both U.S. borders, thus proving any gun-control scheme must be accompanied by the very same border security measures liberals oppose. This effectively means anti-gun, open-border liberals, including many Democrats in Congress, are either fools or are being dishonest about the policies they say they support. I’m willing to bet it’s the latter.
In fairness to many anti-gun liberals, I’m sure they oppose most private gun ownership across the entire world, not just in the United States. If they had it their way, there wouldn’t be any guns in Central America, Mexico, Canada, or anywhere else either. Of course, to accomplish that, the United Nations (or some other world government body) would need significantly more power or influence—another truly horrifying goal liberals aren’t shy about espousing.
Justin Haskins is a widely published writer and political commentator, the senior editor and founder of The Henry Dearborn Institute for Liberty, and the editorial director and research fellow at The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank. (His work here does not necessarily reflect the views of The Heartland Institute.). Follow him on Twitter @JustinTHaskins.