Kevin Price, National News Editor, USADC.
Will an AR-15 ban lead to a rise of an AK-47 cartel of weapons into the US? The results of the legalization of marijuana certainly lends to such a possibility.
The rise of legal marijuana in several states has led to the rise of Heroin production in Mexico that has fueled our current opioid crisis.
USA Today reports: “As more U.S. states legalize the use of marijuana, Mexico’s violent drug cartels are turning to the basic law of supply and demand.
“That means small farmers, or campesinos, in this border state’s rugged Sierra Madre who long planted marijuana to be smuggled into the United States are switching to opium poppies, which bring a higher price. The opium gum harvested is processed into heroin to feed the ravaging U.S. opioid crisis.”
The significance of this story, is that the AR-15 debate is ignoring one of the basic laws of economics, which is supply and demand. The legalization of marijuana ignores the entrepreneurial behavior of the cartels. They have no problem changing what they sell to appeal to a specific demand. The massive move to heroin has been so devastating that it has actually lowered US mortality rates to levels it has not seen in years.
The prohibition of AR-15s will fuel the rise of an illegal AK-47 economy. These prices are not significantly higher than the AR-15 and once the Mexican cartel takes care of logistics and creates the supply chain, the price would likely go down.
Now the US is debating about AR-15s, even though the real issue of mental health drugs and other systemic causes are not being addressed. Everything points to the probability that the prohibition of AR-15s will have a similar impact on guns as the changed marijuana laws have had on opioids. Although one happened as a result of loosening of drug laws and the latter will happen because of the tightening of gun laws, both are driven by a change in supply and demand. When AR-15s become illegal, the appetite for these type of weapons will not change. However, the only ones who will not pursue a prohibited weapon are law biding citizens. Criminals will seek these guns and find them rather easily.
“Designed to be cheap and reliable as well as simple to operate and produce, the AK-47 and its derivatives remain the world’s most widely used assault rifles seven decades later. In his book AK47: The Story of The People’s Gun, Michael Hodges estimates that there are as many as 200 million Kalashnikov rifles in circulation worldwide, one for every 35 people. On top of its cheap price, the weapon has proven hugely popular with soldiers, criminals and militants due to its durability and reliability.”
How cheap? McCarthy breaks down the numbers:
“In Afghanistan, the gun could cost as little as $600 while on Mexico’s northern border with the U.S., the price would increase to $1,200. In Belgium where the Paris perpetrators obtained their Balkan Kalashnikovs, it has a price tag of about $1,135. An authentic model would cost $1,200 in Pakistan but a locally produced model can be obtained there for as little as $148. It is also possible to obtain an AK-47 through the darknet where costs typically range from $2,800 to $3,600.” The prohibition of AR-15s will fuel the rise of an illegal AK-47 economy. These prices are not significantly higher than the AR-15 and once the Mexican cartel takes care of logistics and creates the supply chain, the price would likely level.
The logical result is that the only ones in situations like this with this type of weapon will be the killer. We know that the typical mass murderer breaks dozens of laws before firing a single bullet (the Sandy Hook killer broke over 70 laws before his spree). These murderers don’t mind further breaking the law to get the instrument to carry out their desires.
The US needs to get serious about the issue of mass murderers. But that isn’t focusing on the weapon — which will change with the laws — but on the reasons why they are happening.
So what would the prohibition of AR-15s do?
- Lead to a robust illegal cartel of gun smugglers from Mexico and other parts of the world.
- Make those who would protect themselves or others even less safe.
- Fuel the profits of criminals in Mexico, as well as potential enemies from around the world. Imagine the irony if a mass murderer in the US got that gun from a terrorist organization in Pakistan?
- Meanwhile, the problem of mental health (the vast majority of these perpetrators are on anti-depressants in the US) and other actual causes will not be addressed. The opportunity cost of spending time on guns rather than the actual cause, will lead to the death of untold numbers.
Imagine the irony if a mass murderer in the US got that gun from a terrorist organization in Pakistan?
The US needs to get serious about the issue of mass murderers. But that is not by focusing on the weapon — which will change with the laws — but on the reasons why these killings happen in the first place.