Monday, August 20, 2012

Arms Trafficking Conduct Code Gains El Paso County Commission Approval

Image source:  Caravan4Peace CaravanaXLaPaz 
The Caravan for Peace announced today the El Paso County Commissioners passed the Arms Trafficking Code of Conduct resolution with a 4-1 vote. The resolution resonates with the themes of the Caravan for Peace, which are:

  1. drug war policies
  2. arms trafficking
  3. money laundering
  4. U.S. foreign aid policy, and 
  5. immigration.

The caravan members--all surviving victims of drug war violence--and their supporters will present the resolution to the El Paso City Council for similar approval tomorrow. Insiders reported last week that Rep. Susie Byrd already was in agreement with the resolution.

Text of the resolution seeking El Paso City Council approval: 

WHEREAS, an estimated 80,000 men, women, and children have been killed in Mexico, almost 11,000 of them in our sister city of Ciudad Juárez, during the past five years; and

WHEREAS, the people of El Paso and the surrounding region recognize our personal, practical, and economic connections with Ciudad Juárez and the country of Mexico; and

WHEREAS, it is strongly in our interest to reduce death, violence, and human rights violations on both sides of the border; and

WHEREAS, trafficked arms and munitions from the United States to Mexico is deeply involved in killings; and

WHEREAS, the trade in illegalized drugs is a driver of criminal profits, corruption, impunity, and violence, with negative effects on the border region; and

WHEREAS, money is the lifeblood of the criminal system in both countries and causes corruption in our home region; and

WHEREAS, human rights and human security in Mexican law enforcement and the military are key to building and sustain a peaceful and secure society in Mexico; and

WHEREAS, accountability, civil and human rights, and security from death, harm, and exploitation are fundamental U.S. values that provide an enduring basis for a safe and prosperous border region, in particular when applied to migration enforcement and immigration policy:


That the City Council endorses the following five principles for members of the U.S. public and U.S. public policy:

(1)   Adhere to existing U.S. laws regulating gun and munitions sales, particularly with respect to trafficking to Mexico, and endorse the attached Code of Conduct for the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership; 

(2)   Spur discussion about current drug policy and alternatives to it;

(3)   Improve tools against money laundering;

(4)   Prioritize human rights and human security in U.S. cooperation with and assistance to Mexican law enforcement and the military; and

(5)   Prioritize accountability, civil and human rights, and security from death, harm, and exploitation in U.S. migration enforcement and immigration policy.


The 10 points of the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership are:

1.         Videotaping the Point of Sale for All Firearms Transactions. Participating retailers will videotape the point-of-sale of all firearms transactions and maintain videos for 6 months to deter illegal purchases and monitor employees.

2.         Computerized Prime Gun Trace Log and Alert System. Mayors Against Illegal Guns will develop a computerized system that participating retailers will implement over time to log crime gun traces relating to the retailer. Once the program is in place, if a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale will be electronically flagged. The retailer would have discretion to proceed with the sale or stop the sale.

3.         Purchaser Declaration. For sales flagged by the trace alert system, participating retailers will ask purchasers to fill out a declaration indicating that they meet the legal requirement to purchase the firearm.

4.         Deterring Fake IDs. Participating retailers will only accept valid federal- or state-issued picture IDs as primary identification. Retailers will utilize additional ID checking mechanisms.

5.         Consistent Visible Signage. Participating retailers will post signage created by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point-of-sale.

6.         Employee Background Checks. Participating retailers will conduct criminal background checks for all employees selling or handling firearms.

7.         Employee Responsibility Training. Participating retailers will participate in an employee responsibility training program focused on deterring illegal purchasers. The Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership will create an online training system based on Wal-Mart´s training program.

8.         Inventory Checking. Participating retailers will conduct daily and quarterly audits. Guidelines will be based on Wal-Mart´s existing audit procedures.

9.         No Sales Without Background Check Results. Participating retailers would prohibit sales based on "default proceeds," which are permitted by law when background check has not returned a result within 3 days.

10.       Securing Firearms. Participating retailers will maintain firearms kept in customer accessible areas in locked cases or locked racks.

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