Three Sides to the Gun Issue

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Recently, another American who accidentally crossed over the border with Mexico was arrested by Mexican border authorities. The American, a former U.S. Marine named Jeromie Slaughter, was arrested when he inadvertently crossed the border into Mexico. He was eventually freed and allowed to cross back into the United States. Immediately, American gun advocates called this an “outrage” and demanded that Mexico not arrest Americans who accidentally cross into Mexico with firearms. This may sound all nice and fine, but this ignores one important fact.

Mexico, like Canada, has sovereign right over its own territory, and one of the laws in Mexico is the prohibition of firearms without any permit. Mexico, like Canada, has tough gun laws, and like Canada does not permit all of its citizens to own guns. In one case, an American named Louis DiNatale accidentally crossed into Canada and was stopped by Canadian border authorities. When they checked his car and found a gun, he was immediately arrested. A year later he was acquitted by a Canadian judge of the weapons charge. Nevertheless, it shows that like Mexico, Canada also has very strict gun control laws and has said on its immigration websites that gun ARE strictly prohibited.

Whether an American crosses the borders of both countries legally or accidentally, they are subject to the laws of that country. It is as simple as that. As far as discretion of border authorities goes, they also have to follow the laws of their countries regardless. This is what many Americans do not understand. If an American travels in the United States, they have a legally protected right to have a carry-on firearm provided it is registered and they have a carry-on license. This does NOT work in either Canada nor in Mexico, and in both those cases Americans must be very, very, very careful when going anywhere near those two countries. Since the United States has no legal agreements with Canada or Mexico on those Americans who can legally carry firearms, then all Americans who cross into Canadian or Mexican territory have to respect the laws of both countries.

Take, for example, the issue of marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in Canada, and Mexico is looking (again not entirely certain) into making marijuana legal. In the case of marijuana, the U.S. federal government’s stand is crystal clear—it is illegal to own, grow or possess. If any Canadian tries to bring any marijuana into the United States—even for medical reasons—they will face immediate arrest and be tried in a U.S. court. This will be true even if they cross into the United States accidentally. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong, that is U.S. federal law, and anyone who accidentally enters the United States from Canada possessing medical marijuana is in big trouble. The same goes with firearms for Americans who might enter Mexico or Canada. Until something can be worked out, I must emphasize to all my readers that they must check twice, three, even four or five times that they not carry any firearms if they should ever go to Mexico or Canada. Your right for possession of any and all firearms ends at their borders.

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