Two National Guardsmen in California are in the line of fire, legally speaking, after they were caught selling American military-style firearms to an undercover agent they thought was a member of a Mexican gun cartel. The two men entered a plea agreement into federal court Thursday, admitting that they sold the firearms twice to the agent.
That agreement notes that Andrew Reyes, 34, and Jaime Casillas, 22, together sold as many as six weapons they knew were going to Mexico, according to KNSD-TV, an NBC station in San Diego. That includes an AK-47, four AR-15s and a .40-caliber pistol. Their charges include felony charges of dealing firearms without a license and counts of transporting firearms without a license because at least some of the firearms were originally purchased in Texas.
The charges come following the release of a recent study by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that indicated that as many as 70 percent of the weapons seized in Mexico from 2009 to 2014 were originally purchased legally in the United States. When tracing the firearms back, they noticed that a fair portion of those guns were purchased at gun stores or shows in the American Southwest.
Gun control has become a major issue in American politics recently, thrust into the spotlight by mass shootings around the country that make headlines every few months. Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama announced executive actions that he is taking in the absence of comprehensive reforms from Congress. His plans revolve around changing definitions within the law in order to expand background checks to gun shows and elsewhere. Gun control advocates have noted that the measures are not enough to stop mass shootings going forward. Opponents have called his actions an overreach.