CBS Suggests Lax Gun Laws in U.S. to Blame for Crime in Mexico

On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Ben Tracy filed a report documenting the thousands of guns that are illegally smuggled to Mexican drug cartels which they use in battle with the Mexican army, and suggested that lax gun laws in America are to blame. Without delving into the possibility that greater availability of guns in Mexico might help the country’s citizens to reduce that country’s overall crime rate, Tracy informed viewers that it is "nearly impossible" to buy guns in Mexico legally, as he pointed out America’s less strict laws:

Mexican law makes it nearly impossible to buy guns there legally, but less restrictive gun laws in the U.S. keep the firearms flowing over the border. Court papers in the [George] Iknadosian case claim U.S. border states provide three-quarters of black market firearms to Mexico. And with more than 1,000 people already killed in drug violence in Mexico this year, cutting off the gun supply is now a top concern on this side of the border.

After anchor Katie Couric relayed to viewers that the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of gun manufacturers as New York City had tried to punish the gun industry for not doing more to force gun dealers to block straw purchases, she set up Tracy’s story: "It's a crime, of course, to smuggle weapons out of the country, and in Phoenix today a gun dealer went on trial for supplying assault rifles to Mexican drug gangs who are locked in a bloody war with the army and each other. Ben Tracy has the latest on a case that's being watched closely here in the United States and Mexico."

Tracy began: "In the escalating drug war south of the border, Mexican cartels supply the drugs, but the guns largely come from the U.S." After filling in viewers on the case of gun dealer George Iknadosian, CBS ran a clip of Tijuana’s Mayor Jorge Ramos: "All the killing that they're doing here, are killing with guns that are selling in the United States."

Tracy concluded:

Mexican law makes it nearly impossible to buy guns there legally, but less restrictive gun laws in the U.S. keep the firearms flowing over the border. Court papers in the Iknadosian case claim U.S. border states provide three-quarters of black market firearms to Mexico. And with more than 1,000 people already killed in drug violence in Mexico this year, cutting off the gun supply is now a top concern on this side of the border. Ben Tracy, CBS News, Los Angeles.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Monday, March 9, CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: In other news, a Supreme Court victory today for gun manufacturers. New York City had sued several of them claiming their failure to monitor dealers allowed guns to wind up in the hands of criminals. A lower court ruled federal law protects the gun industry from such lawsuits, and today the Supreme Court let that decision stand.

COURIC: It’s a crime, of course, to smuggle weapons out of the country, and in Phoenix today a gun dealer went on trial for supplying assault rifles to Mexican drug gangs who are locked in a bloody war with the army and each other. Ben Tracy has the latest on a case that’s being watched closely here in the United States and Mexico.

BEN TRACY: In the escalating drug war south of the border, Mexican cartels supply the drugs, but the guns largely come from the U.S.

WILLIAM NEWELL, ATF PHOENIX FIELD DIVISION: Firearms trafficking to Mexico is a huge problem. You know, drugs come North, guns go South.

TRACY: This man, George Iknadosian, is accused of being a top gun supplier. When government agents raided his Phoenix gun shop last May, they found hundreds of weapons destined for Mexico. He’s now on trial, accused of knowingly selling more than 700 guns to so-called "straw buyers," U.S. citizens who buy the guns legally and then turn them over to a trafficker.

PETER FORCELLI, ATF SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: They get $100 for their trouble, and the trafficker will take the gun down to Mexico and sell it for exponentially more than they pay here.

TRACY: As many as 2,000 firearms are believed across the border into Mexico every day, and they are often assault weapons. The ATF says that nearly 7,700 guns found in Mexico last year were traced to sellers in the U.S.

JORGE RAMOS, MAYOR OF TIJUANA, MEXICO: All the killing that they’re doing here, are killing with guns that are selling in the United States.TRACY: Mexican law makes it nearly impossible to buy guns there legally, but less restrictive gun laws in the U.S. keep the firearms flowing over the border. Court papers in the Iknadosian case claim U.S. border states provide three-quarters of black market firearms to Mexico. And with more than 1,000 people already killed in drug violence in Mexico this year, cutting off the gun supply is now a top concern on this side of the border. Ben Tracy, CBS News, Los Angeles.