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Letter -- Re: Drug Cartels' New Weaponry Mean War
Dear Sir:

After reading the article, Drug Cartels' New Weaponry Mean War by Ken Ellingwood and Tracy Wilkinson, I came across a few inaccuracies.

It was mentioned that AK-47's and AR-15s are assault rifles. This is not the case with guns found in the U.S. Nearly all AR-15s as are semi-automatic guns. The AK-47's may be automatic but are not available for purchase in the U.S. A very limited number of fully automatic guns may be purchased in the U.S. but not without an extensive background check with the BATF and paying a tax for the gun. Also, they are *not* widely available as the price is easily as high as $15,000 for one specimen.

There was a statement saying that there was a "well-documented flow of conventional weapon from the United States." Please provide the reference for this assertion. This statement is as vague as when other articles reference nameless "experts" to support writer's point of view. Along the
same lines, the writers' use of language stating that "tons of assault rifles and automatic pistols" are smuggled from the U.S. There are no vast numbers of assault rifles and automatic pistols available in the U.S. for purchase. Again, please provide references.

A reference was made to "high-caliber guns". What are those?

It's intriguing to see that the writers chose to use the correct terminology of semiautomatic .223 when mentioning guns that the Mexican officers have and chose to use inaccurate terms when refering to U.S. firearms. Could this indicate that the writers had an image that they wanted to portray versus
reporting accurate facts? When I see blatant inconsistencies in an article, it immediately calls into suspect the writer's intent.

Please ask your writers to be more accurate and unbiased in the reporting that they do. The readers appreciate it.


Richard Peters