UHLC students learn about guns along the border

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South Texas history professor George T. Diaz explains the culture which makes the illegal gun trade enticing to ordinary people who view smuggling as a viable business opportunity.

South Texas history professor George T. Diaz explains the culture which can make the illegal gun trade enticing to ordinary people who view smuggling as a viable business opportunity.

Sept. 21, 2011 – A South Texas history professor gave Law Center students a brief lesson on the illegal gun trade along the U.S. – Mexico border yesterday, debunking one common misperception by saying most perpetrators of the smuggling is carried out by ordinary people, not members of drug cartels or gangs.

“While guns remain illegal in Mexico, transnational flows of contraband and vice into North America have existed for decades,” said George T. Diaz, an adjunct professor of history at South Texas College in McAllen. “Arms smuggling is often considered a viable business opportunity with few consequences.”

Many U.S. gun merchants are complicit in conducting business with smugglers without regard to the legal implications because gun dealers often avoid prison despite evidence of their cooperation in a system of arms smuggling, he said during a lunch hour presentation hosted by the Hispanic Law Student’s Association.

Diaz is a former adjunct professor at Texas A&M International University and Southern Methodist University. His publications include “Smugglers in Dangerous Times: Revolution and War in the Tejano Borderlands,” “Twilight of the Tequileros: Prohibition Era Smuggling in the South Texas Borderlands, 1919-1933,” and “Tracking Tequileros: The Bloody Origins of a Border Ballad.”

The luncheon was part of the Annual Hispanic Law Student’s Association Week. Today HLSA is hosting a public interest panel discussion for those interested in working for the government or non-profit in BLB 209 from 12-12:50 pm. Tomorrow, Sept. 21, the organization will hold a panel discussion on current trends in immigration law in BLB 240 from 12-12:50 pm.

For questions or more information email Steven Herrera, President of HLSA, at scherre2@central.uh.edu.

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