Mex­i­can sen­a­tor’s so­lu­tion to crime: Arm the cit­i­zens

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A Mex­i­can sen­a­tor has a rad­i­cal and con­tro­ver­sial plan to com­bat ris­ing vi­o­lence in his coun­try: Let cit­i­zens legally arm them­selves in their cars and busi­nesses. Sen­a­tor Jorge Luis Pre­ci­ado’s push for wider ac­cess to guns has faced re­sis­tance in a coun­try where drug car­tels have wreaked havoc with il­le­gally-ob­tained as­sault ri­fles.

Even his con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Ac­tion Party has re­fused to en­dorse his pro­posal. Un­de­terred, Pre­ci­ado launched last week a na­tional cam­paign to col­lect 120,000 sig­na­tures, which would force Congress to look at the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment. The law­maker seeks to seize on Mex­i­cans’ anger and frus­tra­tion at the dis­mal state of jus­tice in a coun­try where only one per­cent of crimes are pun­ished, ac­cord­ing to an im­punity study by Univer­sity of the Amer­i­cas Pue­bla.

Mex­ico is “a failed state in terms of se­cu­rity. We aren’t ask­ing (the au­thor­i­ties) to de­fend us. We are telling them, ‘Let us de­fend our­selves,’” Pre­ci­ado told AFP in an in­ter­view in the Se­nate. While the law al­lows Mex­i­cans to pos­sess small-cal­iber weapons at home for pro­tec­tion, Pre­ci­ado said it only ben­e­fits “a very se­lect group, in­clud­ing sol­diers, busi­ness­men, politi­cians.”

The only way to legally buy a firearm is at a store in Mex­ico City over­seen by the de­fense min­istry after ob­tain­ing a $115 per­mit. Only 3,075 gun per­mits have been au­tho­rized in re­cent years. Pre­ci­ado’s pro­posal would al­low gun pos­ses­sion in­side pri­vate busi­nesses and ve­hi­cles. In Mex­ico City, for in­stance, thieves take ad­van­tage of the mega-cap­i­tal’s no­to­ri­ous traf­fic jams to rob driv­ers at gun­point. “To­day in Mex­ico you can steal, rob and ex­tort with to­tal im­punity. The cit­i­zen doesn’t have the tini­est pos­si­bil­ity to de­fend him­self,” Pre­ci­ado said.

Vig­i­lante jus­tice

One man took jus­tice into his own hands on Mon­day. After four armed peo­ple robbed a bus near Mex­ico City, a pas­sen­ger pulled out a gun and killed them all, ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses. The shooter then left and dis­ap­peared. An ed­i­to­rial in the news­pa­per El Univer­sal said such re­cent acts of vig­i­lante jus­tice show that peo­ple are fed up with im­punity, but it is also “a vir­tual adop­tion of the law of the jun­gle.”

Some 1.15 mil­lion crimes in­clud­ing homi­cides, thefts, ex­tor­tion and rape were re­ported in Mex­ico be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber, up from 1.13 mil­lion over the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures. “How many could have saved their lives if they had a gun per­mit? How many kid­nap­pings, rapes and rob­beries could have been avoided?” asked Lu­ciano Se­gu­ra­jau­regui, re­gional di­rec­tor of Mex­ico Ar­mado, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes gun pos­ses­sion. Ban­ning peo­ple from de­fend­ing them­selves with guns is “the equiv­a­lent of pro­hibit­ing the use of fire be­cause it burns or the use of wa­ter be­cause it drowns,” he said.

Ray­mundo Moreno, a pri­vate se­cu­rity en­tre­pre­neur, has called for cit­i­zens to be al­lowed to carry high-cal­iber weapons like the ones used by crim­i­nals. Some 2,000 guns, as­sault ri­fles and grenade launch­ers il­le­gally en­ter Mex­ico through the por­ous US bor­der ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to a study com­mis­sioned by the lower house of Congress.

More deaths?

For Fran­cisco Ri­vas, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cit­i­zen Ob­ser­va­tory, a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion that mon­i­tors crime, it re­mains to be seen if Pre­ci­ado’s pro­posal is ac­tu­ally “a se­ri­ous pro­posal or a mere provo­ca­tion.” “I don’t see it as vi­able,” Ri­vas said. He crit­i­cized Pre­ci­ado’s ar­gu­ment that there is less crime in the United States than Mex­ico thanks to le­gal and wide­spread firearm pos­ses­sion, which de­ters crim­i­nals. “The United States is a coun­try where peo­ple are armed and there are crimes. There are fewer (than in Mex­ico) be­cause they have a po­lice force ca­pa­ble of re­solv­ing prob­lems,” Ri­vas said.

He said Pre­ci­ado should in­stead “in­vest his time in strength­en­ing the se­cu­rity and jus­tice in­sti­tu­tions” of Mex­ico. If the law­maker’s plan is ap­proved, Ri­vas warned, there could be “a lot of deaths that we could blame on one per­son in par­tic­u­lar, which is Sen­a­tor Pre­ci­ado and all the se­na­tors who de­cide to sup­port his ini­tia­tive.” —AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.