Mexico’s Gun Problem Not California’s, nor America’s

Mexico’s Gun Problem Not California’s, nor America’s
A boy holds a gun as a community police force teaches children how to use weapons in the village of Ayahualtempan, Guerrero State, Mexico, on Jan. 24, 2020. The vigilante group trains children as young as five so they can protect themselves from drug-related criminal groups operating in the area. (Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images)
John Seiler
Aren’t American officials supposed to side with Americans? One would think so. Not California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the attorneys general from 16 other states and Washington, D.C. They filed an amicus brief in an appeal to a case brought by the country of Mexico against 10 U.S. gun manufacturers. The case is Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., et al. It now is being heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, based in Boston, Mass.
The lawsuit originally was filed in February 2022. I wrote about it in the Epoch Times at the time. That lawsuit was rejected last September by the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts. The reason was obvious, as I pointed out: This is a federal matter. That’s why we have a U.S. State Department. The U.S. Constitution reads, in Article I, Section 10, Clause 1:

“No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

It’s worth reviewing this case more in detail as we’re further down the road. In particular, last June the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Bruen case, affirming the Second Amendment’s personal right to “keep and bear arms,” including in public, with reasonable exceptions.

Bonta’s Argument Now

Bonta’s announcement explained he was “filing an amicus brief supporting the Mexican government’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers to hold them accountable for their contributions to gun violence in Mexico. … According to a 2020 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that 70% of the firearms recovered in Mexico from 2014 through 2018 originated in the United States. In today’s brief, the attorneys general seek to overturn a district court decision dismissing the suit and argue that the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) does not shield the companies, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Ruger, Glock, Century Arms, Barrett, and Colt; as well as gun distributor Interstate Arms, from accountability.”

Again, it’s obvious this is not a state matter, but a federal matter. If states were allowed to launch lawsuits willy-nilly, California could sue Germany for sending über-polluting Mercedes, Audis, and BMWs to Kansas.

The announcement adds:

“In Mexico, legally purchasing a firearm is nearly impossible. The country has one gun store and issues fewer than 50 gun permits per year. Despite this, an estimated 200,000 firearms are trafficked into Mexico from the United States every year.
He doesn’t see it—or won’t tell us. The problem in Mexico is not too many guns, but too few. The cartels have weapons, but the citizens don’t and can’t shoot back. Currently, there are about 52,799 gun stores in Estados Unidos—or one for every 6,250 people. Plus gun shows. And a legacy of gun ownership going back well before the country’s glorious founding in blaze of Revolutionary self-defense using guns against King George III’s tyranny in 1776.
It’s hard to gain an estimate, but a reasonable one from The Trace puts it at “about 352 million guns in circulation,” out of 465 million produced since 1899.
America does have a problem with drug cartels becoming more active. But the problems we’ve been reading about lately in Mexico of kidnapping Americans for ransom are much less likely to occur here, because the cartels know we citizens are heavily armed.

Mexico a ‘Virtual Arms Bazaar’

Moreover, even if all U.S. guns could be banned flowing to Mexico, that wouldn’t stop importations from elsewhere. The cartels notoriously get the chemical precursors for deadly fentanyl from Communist China. If that can’t be stopped, how could guns be? Indeed, on April 4, Reuters reported:

“Mexico’s president said on Tuesday he had written to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, urging him to help control shipments of fentanyl as he fended off criticism in the U.S. that Mexico is not doing enough to stop trafficking of the synthetic opioid.

“President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador read out the letter to Xi dated March 22 in which he defended efforts to curb supply of the deadly drug, while rounding on U.S. critics, some of whom want Washington to intervene militarily in Mexico.”

And here’s a Fox News story from 2015: “The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.” Instead:

“Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.”

Could the AKs from China have come via the United States? No. In 1989, the U.S. banned their importation from China.
Then there’s this from Forbes, from February 2022:

“Over the last few years China’s presence in Mexico has expanded in both legal and illegal activities. According to preliminary data, trade between China and Mexico topped $100 billion in 2021, a new record. Imports from China account for over 90% of total trade between China and Mexico. Chinese foreign direct investments in Mexico tallied $189 billion in 2020. But, while legitimate commerce between Mexico and China is growing, Chinese groups are also becoming more involved in drug trafficking and money laundering in Mexico. In 2007, police in Mexico City seized $205 million in cash from a home owned by Chinese businessman Zhenli Ye Gong. ”

The article quoted researcher Vanda Felbab-Brown, who said:

“The Chinese government’s cooperation to counter drug and wildlife trafficking between China and Mexico is very limited. For the most part, the Chinese government rejects China’s responsibility for the smuggling of drug precursor chemicals into Mexico and for poaching and wildlife trafficking in Mexico for Chinese markets. It insists that these problems are for the Mexican government to solve.”

America’s patriotic gun manufacturers are being scapegoated for Mexico’s inability to influence China’s refusal to control criminal activities.


It’s obvious the action by Bonta and the other state AGs—all liberal Democrats—is to boost the price of buying a gun, making it more difficult for regular Americans to defend their homes and families themselves. Meanwhile, the AGs are not doing their real job of protecting us. The San Francisco Standard reported April 5, “The stabbing death of prominent tech executive Bob Lee has sparked a wave of criticism about crime in San Francisco, with some people even going so far as to blame city leaders for his death, though details of what transpired and whether the attack was random currently remain unknown.”

Such incidents only inspire Californians to go out and buy guns—and carry them on the street, a right explicitly affirmed by the Bruen case. The same U.S. Supreme Court justices will hear this case new case by the Mexican government, if it ever makes it up that far. They almost certainly will reject its spurious arguments.

Mexico’s crime problems won’t be solved by attacks on our Bill of Rights.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at and his email is [email protected]
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