Mexico Data Overstate Weapons Traced to the U.S.

The El Paso Times reports that Mexican authorities have only…

The El Paso Times reports that Mexican authorities have only provided ATF with serial numbers for less than a third of the weapons that were seized since 2006 when the crackdown against the drug cartels began. The article asserts that Mexican authorities handpicked which firearms were traced. One skeptic said that most of the seized firearms were not traced because of corruption in Mexico. Regardless whether that claim is true, ATF says that the firearms that have been successfully traced were on average originally sold at retail about 14 years ago. That a high percentage of firearms successfully traced turn out to have been sold in the United States should come as no surprise since federal law requires markings on firearms so they can be traced through interstate commerce. It is like tracing cars on a Ford dealership and finding out they are mostly Ford vehicles.

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  • Eric

    While there are many sources refuting assertions US gun rights enable the drug cartels as this article and others indicate, there are many powerful Mass Media sources and government agencies as well as “scholarly” journals which quote anti- gun rights statistics, and they are accustomed to not being challenged and debated. This must end for the sake of all, including those who would strip us of our rights. For example, FOREIGN AFFAIRS (available at BORDERS, B&N, etc.), is published by the very influential, Council on Foreign Relations. Last year, when the “American-assault-guns-are-fueling-the-Drug-War” started, FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Vol. 88, No. 4) published an article titled, “The Real War in Mexico: How Democracy Can Defeat the Drug Cartels” by Shannon O’Neil, who the article lists as the Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin American Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (FA’s publisher) and Director of the CFR task force on US-Latin American relations. On page 70, O’Neil writes, “To start, the United States needs to take a hard look at its own role in the escalating violence and instability in Mexico. This means enforcing its own laws and rethinking its priorities. When it comes to the gun trade, U.S. law prohibits the sale of weapons to foreign nationals or ‘straw buyers,’ who use their clean records to buy arms for others. It also forbids the unlicensed export of guns to Mexico. Nevertheless, over 90 percent of guns seized in Mexico and traced are found to come from the United States. These include not only pistols but cartel favorites like the AR-15s and AK-47-style semiautomatic rifles. To stop this iron-river of guns, Washington must…” And the article goes on to explain how to “rethink priorities.” The “90%” claim is clearly a foundation of O’Neill’s assertions, and the link to pistols and carbines is that they are self-evidently threats to be banned. Several months ago, FOREIGN FAFFAIRS, published a follow-on article, written by a retired DEA senior staffer, who quoted O’Neill’s article. It is important to note, while FOREIGN AFFAIRS is a respected publication (e.g., former Presidents, Prime Ministers, and high level government officials publish their opinions in it), it is not generally a citation-based publication, so information sources can’t be readily verified with many of its articles. Essentially, this is an “opinion-based” publication, greatly relying on the (elite) reputation of the writer to support his or her arguments. On controversial issues, such as gun rights, checking of data is particularly important. However, FOREIGN AFFAIRS is not the only anti-gun publication with an elite audience. The Latin American “Council of the Americas” through its up-market “journals” (again, limited-to-no references on statistics for verification) has quoted similar “90%” statistics and “urged” the US – at a minimum – to reinstate the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban. It is reasonable to consider, the Mexican President probably received some of his information from these sources as a foundation for his speech before the US Congress, when he urged Congress to, again, reenact the Clinton Ban, earlier this year. However, as this Tac-Life article indicates, there are contrary views on these statistics, which are not new. For example, on July 9th of 2009, the Investor’s Business Daily published an article stating, “After a claim by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that 90% of Mexican drug dealers’ military weapons (machine guns, hand grenades, and missiles) come from American gun stores was exposed as a lie several months ago, it’s back with an imprimatur of the Government Accountability Office.” Obviously, the anti-2nd Amendment Agenda is unrelenting and has powerful allies in government, academia and Big Business (advertisers in FOREIGN AFFAIRS, etc.). Thus, powerful institutions and organizations will use contrarian information to advance their agenda. The first step to preserve a free society is to learn who are those who wish to “trade Freedom for security,” so these entities and individuals can be debated. Of course, Ben Franklin proposed, “Those who would trade Freedom for security, deserve neither.” However, challenging opinions, even those of the Rich and Powerful, are the foundation of a Free Society, and, in fact, actually help preserve the safety of the Rich and Powerful although at this time they appear to be discounting this reality. We must remember, “Vigilance” and the requirement to “Debate and Peacefully Challenge Ideas” are indeed the price of Liberty. The other price, is we must be heard…