Mexico’s drug cartels have for years armed themselves courtesy of America’s love for guns.
Many Americans, wedded to their right to own guns under the second amendment of the US constitution, are viscerally opposed to stronger laws to curb weapons trafficking, out of fear that it may prove to be the thin end of a wedge that they say will result in the government confiscating all firearms.
Some are wedded to their guns out of fear of crime. Others see them as a protection against his own government, a view rooted in the American revolution and buttressed today by suspicion of Washington as the “enemy” – a constant refrain from the Tea Party movement and right wing of the Republican party. But there are many others who strongly support gun rights because of a long tradition of hunting and shooting for sport.
Today, there are estimated to be about 250m guns in the US. One in four adults own a firearm, most of them men.
That is a formidable obstacle to those who want to see greater control of guns, although they have made progress at times.