Will U.S. Checks Of Mexico-Bound Vehicles Curb Gun Smuggling?


Inspections of vehicles crossing into Mexico will be stepped up under a $400 million effort to improve security on the border, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said yesterday in San Diego, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. The southbound inspections will include canine teams trained to sniff out weapons and cash, the deployment of 100 Border Patrol agents borderwide to inspect vehicles headed into Mexico and, for the first time, the screening of rail cars crossing into Mexico. The border upgrades, funded through President Obama’s economic stimulus package, will include $269 million for ports of entry.

Some question the value of inspecting southbound vehicles as a deterrent. David Shirk of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego said intervening at the border is not the most effective strategy but is politically popular. “You ought to be doing a better job of evaluating whom guns are sold to at the point of sale,” he said. “Then you don’t need to focus as much on what is being moved across the border, because you have already done your inspection as to where guns are being sold.” Napolitano said, “you can’t just focus on the gun dealers. You have to have intelligence that tells you which gun dealers are actually [] putting guns in the hands of those that are trafficking them illegally into Mexico.”

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