The key rhetorical question that some who want to limit our Second Amendment rights, like Piers Morgan, keep asking is: “Why does any American need an AR-15?” They ask that question because they clearly cannot imagine any circumstances under which that would be necessary. Unfortunately, however, there are many Americans who live along the southwestern border of the United States who know the answer to that question.
Their answer is in part directly due to the enforcement and immigration decisions made by the very administration that is seeking to outlaw their right to own these types of weapons.
In 2010, I met former Arizona Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever. He talked about the many problems he faced in his county with illegal border crossers and drug smugglers — Cochise County is directly on the Mexican border. Dever, who was tragically killed in an auto accident in 2012, knew many of the ranchers and others who own property along the border and have been attacked, burglarized, threatened, assaulted, and murdered by the dangerous predators crossing into the United States from Mexico.
Those include Robert Krentz. Krentz transmitted a radio message to his family about an illegal alien on his 35,000-acre ranch shortly before being murdered. Police reports said officers followed the trail of evidence 20 miles south, into Mexico, leading Dever to believe the shooter was a scout for a drug smuggling organization.
The ranch, which the Krentz family started in 1907, was within the congressional district represented by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who testified recently in favor of the so-called assault weapons ban proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
This is a problem all along the Arizona border, not just in Cochise County. One rancher in Arivaca, Arizona, Jim Chilton, told NBC News on January 25 about the dangerous drug smugglers that use his land “at will.” His home has been burglarized twice, and he and his ranch hands are constantly on the lookout for armed smugglers. He told NBC:
Can you imagine riding a horse through here on your own land and running into a guy with an AK-47 and 20 or 30 guys behind him dressed in camouflage and carrying drugs?
Chilton’s neighbor David Beckham told NBC that he finally moved his family away from his ranch because of the dangerous and numerous run-ins they’ve had with Mexican smugglers. Smugglers have even fired shots at him “while he walked his land with a U.S. Border Patrol agent.”
Both Chilton and Beckham complained about the lack of border enforcement by the Obama administration. According to the story, both the ranchers and Border Patrol agents say that the “smugglers crossing the border now are more heavily armed and confrontational than in years past.”
CBS News reported on January 13 about another Arizona rancher, John Ladd, who owns a 14,000-acre ranch along the Mexican border where his family has lived for five generations. His land is constantly crossed by drug smugglers because, as Ladd says, the southern side of the border “is all controlled by the cartel now.” At night, he and his family have to lock their doors:
You got guns laying around. You got guns in the truck. You worry about your mother, your dad, your wife. You want to live like that? I’m a rancher. I don’t want to live like that.