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NY Times article on guns being smuggled into the UK

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:08 am    Post subject: NY Times article on guns being smuggled into the UK Reply with quote


There's a lot of stuff in this article that looks wrong to me.

Now the authorities fear that after Brexit, when borders with the European Union will be more tightly regulated, the illegal gun trade from America could accelerate, especially given the Trump administration’s broad support for the gun industry.

“A major Trump administration goal is to globalize the firearms trade and facilitate exports, and if you’re facilitating legal exports it’s almost inevitable that there will be an illegal diversion of weapons into criminal markets in other countries,” said Aaron Karp, a senior consultant for the Small Arms Survey in Geneva and a lecturer at Old Dominion University in Virginia.

I've seen this argument made many times, but it's nonsense, moving export licencing from the State Dept. to the Commerce Dept. isn't going to make a jot of difference, because ultimately it's the gun laws in the country the guns are being exported to that matters. You've still got to get a UK import licence or FAC in order to get a US Commerce Dept. licence and getting the UK paperwork is the hard bit. It just reduces the bureaucracy at the US end and perhaps most importantly, bear in mind the export licencing bureaucracy in pretty much every other developed country when it comes to firearms is more like the Commerce Dept. system than the State Dept. system.

In the last few years, the National Crime Agency has found that gangs favor “cleaner” antique or deactivated weapons that are harder to trace. Those weapons are sold legally at gun shows or by collectors, many in the United States, and are easier to buy because they can only fire if they are illegally reactivated.

That paragraph doesn't make sense, antiques don't need to reactivated and deactivated firearms don't really exist on the US market because the frame is the regulated component. Basically, a couple of guys started importing firearms and said they were antiques to HMRC at the POE and HMRC actually believed them and let them in. That's more of a case of HMRC having their heads up their arses than some trend in criminality, it was just something that was exploited.

He recalled being warned that “if you’ve got a knife and someone has a gun, he isn’t going to hesitate to shoot.” His gang trafficked dozens of new and used weapons, including American Glocks, he said, with prices reaching 15,000 pounds, about $20,000. Today, investigators say the smuggling pipeline is well established.

That sounds like a typical criminal exaggeration to me. I find it hard to believe anyone was paying £15,000 for a pistol.

“If they didn’t have a gun of course he’d still be alive.”

Because there's no other way of committing murder.

The presence of American guns became even more evident several months later, in July 2019, when officers with the National Crime Agency raided a rusted blue container ship as it arrived at the port of Ambarli in northern Turkey after traveling nearly 6,000 miles from Florida.

Inside some of the shipping containers were old American cars, and hidden inside were 57 firearms and 1,230 bullets that investigators say were meant for gangs in Britain and Bulgaria. The guns were purchased legally at antique gun fairs in Florida, the investigators said, and then smuggled to Turkey to be illegally reactivated before sale.

This doesn't make sense, the pictures show mostly frames and it's the pressure-bearing components that are regulated in European countries. And Bulgaria isn't exactly known as a place where firearms are hard to get either, why would they smuggle frames from the US to Bulgaria? And why would they smuggle them into Turkey? And if they've come from the US, why would they need to be reactivated - they would already be in working order...

Only three things are certain: death, taxes and stupid gun laws.
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