Gun Control That Works

Well, sort of. Apparently, so many Tijuana cops are involved with violent drug-trafficking gangs that the whole force has temporarily been stripped of its arms. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Tijuana, a sprawling metropolis of about 1.5 million people, was bustling as usual Friday, and there were no signs of social unrest or public disorder two days after more than 3,500 soldiers and federal agents starting arriving as part of Operation Tijuana.

Members of the 2,300-strong municipal police force were ordered by the military to turn in their weapons to see whether any are linked with homicides and other crimes. More than 2,000 weapons, most of them 9 mm handguns, but also some automatic weapons and shotguns, are being inspected.

Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon said in an interview that he had feared putting unarmed police at risk and had ordered them off the streets Thursday after receiving assurances from the general in charge of Operation Tijuana, Hector Sanchez Gutierrez, that his troops would maintain order.

The 18 hours without municipal police went without any major incidents, though there were some complaints of no law enforcement response to a few minor traffic accidents. And at the jail holding facility in the red light district, Municipal Judge Oscar Gonzalez Valdez said he had freed some detainees - mostly drinking-related offenders - because there were no transit police to take them to the main jail across the city.

Municipal police may get their weapons back within two weeks, Tijuana officials say, but many residents aren't demanding urgent action.

I'm not wild for the idea of troops acting as police, but I understand the frustrations that led there. Of course, if the military took over patrol duties permanently, the soldiers would soon face the same corrupting incentives as the ordinary police. That's how the drug war works.

The best quote in the story comes from a 55-year-old Tijuanan: "I bet the number of assaults goes down until the police get their guns back. I feel pretty safe right now."

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  • ||

    That's the most idiotic idea since the war on drugs itself.

  • ||

    "Your local police are armed and dangerous."

    OLD OLD joke.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Very interesting but I'm not sure the federales are any better than the Tijuana police. Perhaps the soldiers are, dunno about that.

  • Thomas||

    Am I the only one who laughs at the fact that the same program that is supposed to stop violence (The war on drugs) is causing more. And once the cops lost their guns the violence went down?

    However I fully support gun rights and no gun control. But there is a good point there that the cops cause the violence also, and the drug war.

  • B||

    You know, I can't think of a single time in Mexico when being in the presence of a cop has made me feel anything other than anxious. And certainly not "safe". That things would get along fine without them is completely unsuprising to me.

  • ||

    The average Joe in Mexico is prohibited from having firearms.
    Putting the cops at the same level strikes me as only inherently fair.

    What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • ||

    I'm taking my .357 down to the donkey show and ain't no one gonna stop me!

  • reportero||

    The drug is heating up once again down here - not that it will make any difference. Fox rolled out something similar dubbed Operation Secure Mexico and drug violence actually increased. During his six years in office more than 9,000 people died in drug-related violence, according to a recent congressional report.

    New president Felipe Calderon wants to look like a man of action - unlike Fox - and thus is ramping up the drug war. As a columnist in an English-daily here almost mournfully put it: We can only wish him well.

  • ||

    Does anyone think they are going to trace any guns back to crimes? How do you do ballistics on a shotgun? Taking guns away from cops may be a good idea, but don't blow smoke up my ass.

  • ||

    I promise I won't!

  • ||

    Mexico has no hope of becoming a place fit to live until the US drops the WoD.

    The US will not drop the WoD.

    What makes anybody think the Mexican police would need to shoot anybody with their state issued guns? They won't shoot anybody in the line of duty because they're too corrupt.

    Guns may be illegal in Mexico, that does not make them unavailable. Take, for example, meth (for which we Americans are now deprived of common cold medicine. Because a couple of teenagers might use some meth and some Comet and get really really wasted some night.)

    But hey, maybe meth is cheaper than cold medicine. I noticed cold medicine was really going up here before they banned it.

    In fact, what you actually can get (behind the counter) costs a lot more now than it did before.

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