As America steps up its rules and regulations on firearms in the wake of an unprecedented rise in violent crime, it’s time to monitor the sale of weapons. The commission of these crimes often goes largely underreported in mainstream media, and as policies shift, this kind of oversight has become necessary.
Mind you, this isn’t about the firearms bought or sold here in the U.S. Rather, this is about the weapons we sell to other countries. Columbia is a great example here. They received over $1 billion in arms since 2012, which puts them into the major category of purchasers. It also is why Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has introduced legislation to transform Columbia into a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA).
The problem with this idea is how the Columbians have been using these firearms. They aren’t defending themselves from the rebels or chasing after cartels who exploit their lush ecosystem to manufacture cocaine. Instead, they are using them to gun down human rights protesters, reselling them to fund human trafficking, and engaging in criminal sexual violence.
Allies like these are a dime a dozen. These allies don’t truly care about who ends up holding the weapons we sell them. They only care about making a profit from these sales, and it’s that profit that is being misdirected and used to fund these criminal enterprises all over again. This kind of action is never healthy for the American people, or the globe as a whole.
Before March 2020, the sales destinations were monitored by the State Department. After that, President Trump slid that responsibility down to the Department of Commerce. In that time, Central America’s Northern Triangle purchased 4,000 firearms, and contracts for another 110,000 are currently scheduled.
Comprised of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, the Northern Triangle accounts for 47 of the 50 most murderous cities around the globe. This isn’t something new, or something people have not been aware of. Ever since the late 1970s and the explosion of cocaine back into the popular culture scene, and especially since the invention of crack in the 1980s, these countries have been some of the largest hubs for narcotics.
It’s these narcotics that cause the violence and the disappearance of these firearms. These crimes cannot be committed with firearms that are easily linked back to the U.S., but they also will never have their history destroyed. By having these countries in the middle, there is plausible deniability for the U.S. as well as firearms manufacturers.
Funding these drug manufacturers directly or indirectly is something the U.S. needs to clamp down on. While the intent was always clear and pure, over time, it has slipped. The Department of Commerce should be doing a better job, but thus far, they have largely failed at improving the security of these sales.
The biggest twist to this is how these same countries will ask the U.S. for aid in combating these illegal sales or the illegal use of these firearms. We end up funding both sides of the conflicts and profiting from them. While this is no secret and it is not something many politicians are up in arms against, we are seeing how deeply these conflicts are altering the reality in many of our major cities. The trickle-down effect might not work well in economics (despite Democrat’s claims), but it works beautifully in drug manufacturing and violence.