Where do drug cartels’ guns come from: Texas or Central America?

The Houston Chronicle, 7/26/11

Eric Olson

The claim that Mexican cartels rely on huge stocks of military surplus weaponry from civil wars in Central America is the mantra of pro-gun organizations fearful that linking drug violence to U.S.-purchased weapons could lead to more gun control.

There are things the U.S. can do to help Central America deal with its weapons issues, but look, we have clear and convincing evidence that high-powered weapons are being taken across the U.S.-Mexico border and used in gruesome crimes,’’ Wilson Center’s Eric Olson said. “Our first order of business should be to stem the flow of weapons in a legal, respectful way. It’s got to be a priority.’’

Though gun-rights advocates and at least one prominent U.S. senator ferociously stand by that politically charged theory, federal firearms data show only a tiny percentage originate south of Mexico’s border.

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