A Houston windshield repairman has admitted to helping manage a part of a broader conspiracy to traffic more than 300 military-style weapons across the border, part of a plea deal requiring him to tell federal agents about the ring that supplied weapons to Mexico's fearsome Zetas drug cartel.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has taken down more than a dozen U.S. citizens the agency contends purchased weapons to help fuel a protracted war that has taken thousands of lives south of the border.
The latest, and one of the more significant players, was Christian Garza, 26, who admitted in federal court Friday to conspiring to lie to gun dealers about where the weapons were headed.
Although the Houston Chronicle is still talking about "military-style weapons," a description that no one really likes, they do get the problem exactly right: "the agency contends purchased weapons help fuel a protracted war that has taken thousands of lives south of the border."
No mention of the percentage, no blaming the U.S. entirely for the problem, just simply stating that these smuggling operations "help fuel" the war.
The interesting thing is what Christian Garza did.
The crime by which investigators repeatedly snag culprits is that when they purchase guns for the cartel, they claim on an official application that the guns are for their own use, when in fact they are not.
This is referred to as "a straw purchase." The gun control suggestion about registering guns to specific owners would put a big obstacle in an operation like this. After several purchases, the buyer could be required by the ATF to produce the weapons to prove they've not been smuggled. Is that too much government intervention for the gun owners? Is that too invasive into the rights of gun owners? I don't think so. What's your opinion?
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