Michael's Dispatches

Tons of Arms Flowing into Mexico, But From Where?

98 Comments

30 March 2009

Nobody seems to dispute that tons of weapons apparently are flowing into Mexico.  A big question is, where are they coming from?  The only casualties assured to occur are those people who are shot by the real guns from the questionable sources, and the truth.  There are almost certainly people within the U.S. government who would fit the facts to fit their agendas, and there are vast numbers of citizens who would do the same.  Iraq and Afghanistan provide stark international reminders of this on the global scale.  It seemed that every cranny of government and civilian political organizations, overtly lied or spackled over inconvenient facts that did not lead to pre-determined outcomes for Iraq, in particular.

Personally, I don't trust any government, nor do I trust the amorphous "gun lobby" in the United States.  All are filled with overt and hidden agendas.  Huge money flies around.  Having grown up in America, I'm not sure which to disbelieve more: the government agendas, or the private agendas.  I grew up in the South, and was shooting and hunting as a young boy.  By my young twenties, I had become intimately familiar with perhaps a hundred types of small arms.  Having lived in places like Florida, North Carolina, California and Massachusetts, I am extremely well aware of the gun arguments -- from various sides -- and the high emotions surrounding them.  That intimate knowledge causes me to suspect the gun-fanatics as much as the anti-gun fanatics.  Neither camp can be counted on to tell the good, the bad and the ugly.  None are to be trusted with mere facts, even when actual facts can be found.

 
In the words of the government: 

DOJ Statement of William Hoover and Anthony Placido (17 March 2009)

Defining the Problem

The southwest border is the principal arrival zone for most illicit drugs trafficked into the U.S., as well as the predominant staging area for the subsequent distribution of these drugs throughout the U.S. Guns are an integral part of these criminal enterprises; they are the "tools of the trade." Drug traffickers routinely use firearms against each other and have used these weapons against the Mexican military, law enforcement officials, and Mexican civilians. Because firearms are not readily available in Mexico, drug traffickers have aggressively turned to the U.S. as their primary source. Firearms are routinely being transported from the U.S. into Mexico in violation of both U.S. and Mexican law. In fact, according to ATF’s National Tracing Center, 90 percent of the weapons that could be traced were determined to have originated from various sources within the U.S. One thing must remain clear in any discussion of violence in Mexico, or violence practiced by Mexican traffickers operating in the U.S.: drug gangs are inherently violent, and nowhere is this more true than in Mexico, where "Wild West" style shootouts between the criminals and the cops, and elements of opposing trafficking groups are unfortunately considered normal.

To elaborate, the rising incidences of trafficking U.S.-sourced firearms into Mexico is influenced by a number of factors, including increased demand for firearms by drug trafficking organizations, and the strictly regulated and generally prohibited possession and manufacturing of firearms in Mexico. Remarkable amounts of cash are accumulated on the U.S. side of the border and it is believed that, in certain cases, it is used to procure firearms and ammunition that eventually makes their way south to Mexico. Weapons sources typically include secondary markets, such as gun shows and flea markets since—depending on State law—the private sale of firearms at those venues often does not require background checks prior to the sale or record keeping.

Comprehensive analysis of firearms trace data over the past three years indicates that Texas, Arizona and California are the three largest source States, respectively, for firearms illegally trafficked to Mexico. In FY 2007 alone, Mexico submitted approximately 1,112 guns for tracing that originated in Texas, Arizona and California. The remaining 47 States accounted for 435 traces in FY 2007.

It should be noted, though, that while the greatest proportion of firearms trafficked to Mexico originate out of the U.S. along the southwest border, based on successful traces, ATF trace data has established that drug traffickers are also acquiring firearms from other States as far east as Florida and as far north and west as Washington State. A case from April 2008 involving the Arellano Felix Drug Trafficking Organization illustrates this point. A violent dispute between elements of this drug trafficking organization left 13 members dead and 5 wounded. ATF assisted Mexican authorities in tracing 60 firearms recovered at the crime scene in Tijuana. As a result, leads have been forward to ATF field divisions in Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.

In addition, drug traffickers frequently resort to using "straw purchasers" to gain firearms from federally licensed gun dealers in the U.S., dealers who often are unwitting participants in these schemes. Straw purchases refer to instances wherein an individual purchases a firearm for someone who is either prohibited by law from possessing one, such as a convicted felon, or who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction. In other words, a straw purchase when someone poses as the buyer of a firearm although that person is not the true purchaser and is doing so for someone else who wishes or needs to the law and the creation of a paper trail.

Until recently drug traffickers’ "weapon of choice" had been .38 caliber handguns. However, they now have developed a preference for higher quality, more powerful weapons, such as .223 and 7.62x39mm caliber rifles, 5.7x28 caliber rifles and pistols, and .50 caliber rifles; each of these types of weapons has been seized by ATF in route to Mexico. ATF also has seized large quantities of ammunition for use in these firearms. Drug trafficker’s taste for high-power weaponry is evidenced by a joint ATF, FBI and Tucson Police Department investigation in April 2006. That effort led to the arrest of three members of the aforementioned Arellano Felix Organization for attempting to purchase machineguns and hand grenades from undercover agents.

Please click here to view entire document

 

MCCaffrey on Mexico

Truth or Dare: Guns to Mexico

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 9 years ago
    > It is an undisputable fact that the weapons and firearms used to fuel the drug-related violence in
    > Mexico can be traced back to guns procured legally or illegally here.

    Wow, how vague. "weapons and firearms". plural. could be "2" or could be many more. For an indisputable fact, that isn't very specific.

    > In fact, according to ATFƒ??s National Tracing Center, 90 percent of the weapons that could be
    > traced were determined to have originated from various sources within the U.S.

    Again, wow. "90% of the weapons THAT COULD BE TRACED" ... 90% of how many? How many couldn't be traced?
    I read this as 9 of the 10 weapons that had serial numbers. the other 300k didn't have serial numbers because they weren't manufactured in the united states.

    > In FY 2007 alone, Mexico submitted approximately 1,112 guns for tracing that originated in Texas, Arizona
    > and California. The remaining 47 States accounted for 435 traces in FY 2007.

    Finally! some numbers. 1547 guns in a year. That is "tons" now? they still don't say how many were traced, just 90% of the TRACEABLE ones were traced. Even if 100% were traceable, that means that 1392 were from the USA. ATF stats for 2007 say that 2.7 MILLION guns were sold that year. (http://www.atf.gov/firearms/stats/afmer/afmer2007.pdf)
    Not only that, but 207,000+ guns were legally exported. So 90% of the guns that were traced to the US turns out to be 1392 guns, that is less than 1 tenth of 1 percent (0.67%) of all exported guns, and less than 5 hundredths of a percent (0.05%) of all of the guns sold in the us in 2007. That isn't TONS, of guns, that is POUNDS of guns.

    > ATF also has seized large quantities of ammunition for use in these firearms.

    Define "large quantities". Almost everyone who owns a .22LR gun has large quantities of ammunition as they sell ammo in 550 round bricks.

    > Unfortunately, in the past six months we have noted a troubling increase in the number
    > of grenades, which are illegal to possess and sell, seized from or used by drug
    > traffickers, and we are concerned about the possibility of explosives-related violence
    > spilling into U.S. border towns.

    This is the best part of this document. Something that is illegal to own already is being sold to drug traffickers. OMG PONIES! People breaking the law are selling illegal things to other people breaking the law! Lets change the law for selling other things that have nothing to do with this to solve that other problem!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 9 years ago
    I have "that is less than 1 tenth of 1 percent (0.67%)", but that's really "that is less than 1 percent." the other number is right though.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Randall · 9 years ago
    This is bull. This is going to be used as a setup to ask for favor or some form of reciprocity in the future. Mexican authorities have been confiscating arms along their southern border for years now. Not just rifles but hand grenades, grenade launchers, and even belt fed machine guns. Speculation of where this stuff has been coming from has always pointed towards South American countries and their militaries. Its no surprise that despite there being tough anti-gun laws on the books that many regular Mexican citizens are armed themselves.

    Here are two other articles that discuss this. The first one is rather informative.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-mexico-arms-race15-2009mar15,0,2588111.story
    http://www.gunnewsdaily.com/rw807.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    a&n · 9 years ago
    Mike...good dispatch. But now they have AK-47s, rocket launchers and grenades. Haven't seen any of those at gun shows lately. Personally we fear the Government first. So did our founding fathers. That's why the second amendment ....and the rest of the Constitution with it's checks and balances plus their verbal and written warnings about the danger of governments becoming corrupt. Second, I fear those who would do away with the 2nd amendment. Third the pro-gun people can turn one off as well. We are for the second amendment, not allowing a corrupt government to take our country down and owning fire arms for protection from all enemies be they government, the enemy within or the enemy coming across our border. Never been threatened by the pro-gun fanatics so far so we really don't worry about them so much. You can own guns for protection and not be a fanatic, just a person who recognizes the dangers because you live in them every day and remembers that wise saying....a strong man armed keepeth his house. So with a corrupt government taking away our rights...right and left so to speak....and never letting a bad situation go wasted as Obama said...we choose to do what the second amendment allow us to do and arm ourselves and get all the education we can on how to protect ourselves. Have you checked out South and Central America as a source for some of those drug cartels weapons? Here's a piece of news from today for you...Tucson AZ...Over weekend in Tucson drug busts confiscated about 50 tons of Pot. Don't forget, all that marijuana that comes into the US over the border doesn't all stay in the US. It makes it's way to Canada as well and believe it or not Mike, to Europe. Close the border...secure it and there will be no drugs flowing in to sell ..and therefore no money and weapons flowing out. Why is something so simple ignorned. Could it be two corrupt Governments? Mexico and the US? Now you know why we fear governments the most, Mike. Take care wherever you go. No place is as safe as it used to be. The changes in even the last year have been unbelievable.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bruce · 9 years ago
    First, I would object to being characterized as a "gun fanatic" because I choose to exercise my Constitutional rights. I've carried a sidearm for 37 years as a police officer and retired cop. I am FAR from a gun fanatic. At the risk of my career as a member of a certain northeastern "big city" department known to be "anti-gun" (take a guess), I was a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and civilians rights to be armed, as well as fairly well known in the RKBA community. This particular characterization sounds more like something the Brady Bunch would use, rather than a respected journalist.

    Second - as others have pointed out, and I know first hand from cop buddies in border states - the weapons being used in these drug gang altercations are not your everyday "military style assault" rifles that are available at larger gun shows. If any of this stuff is in fact coming from the US, I would bet the farm that they are stolen from armories. You don't just walk into a show and buy grenade lauchers, LAW's, or select fire Title III weapons.

    You should know better than this, Mike.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    neatie · 9 years ago
    Mike...also they have found many weapons in Mexcan Cartel hands to be guns originally give by US to Mexicos Army and then stolen from them or...more likely sold to the cartels. They are just wrong about most of the weapons the Cartels have being sold by citizens of the US to the Cartels. Sure some are but a very few considering all they have and it is bigger weapons they are using now anyway. Times have changed Mike and our government officials lie to you if that is where you have gotten you "facts". The people I know with weapons are not fanatics on either side but sane people having to defend ourselves because our corrupt government won't. If you lived in Arizona you would know just how corrupt they are. Clinton wouldn't know who to blame if she wanted to lay the blame of the guilty. And if you think things are going to remain predictable in Afghanistan....you need to check that out too. If Obama can screw it up worse than it is he will. He talks out of both sides of his mouth...if you know what I mean and is not to be trusted. I have it direct from men on the ground there that they don't think he is on our side. So what do you think of that? Please Mike, we have depended on you for years now to get news out to us, dependable news so be careful. Today you can't trust anyone but our Military guys...not the political ones but the ones fighting this war. You be careful and thanks..
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob · 9 years ago
    The whole story doesn't add up. What kind of guns? Until recently .38 caliber handguns. (The Mexican police couldn't deal with thugs with these weapons?) Now "they ...have developed a preference for higher quality, more powerful weapons, such as .223 and 7.62x39mm caliber rifles, 5.7x28 caliber rifles and pistols, and .50 caliber rifles" But we are worried about "tons" of these guns that have been purchased at gun shows and places like that. Sorry...doesn't seem like you could get tons of guns that way. Your article mentioned South America as a location for the guns, I've heard about China as the source of many of the Mexican guns. I don't see keeping guns out of the hands of legal citizens in the US as keeping guns out of the hands of the bad guys. The bad guys will get their guns. We don't make the streets, nor the border safer, by disarming the good guys.

    As to waving the Constitution on this issue...you bet I will. Let's not forget that the First Amendment confirms the right to publish your stuff...which is usually fantastic. If the Second Amendment can be abridged, why not the First? I'm afraid many of the people who are using their First Amendment rights to attack the Second (and I'm not saying that you are here) will find that their arguments for abridging the Constitution will be used against them and their First Amendment rights.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hal Messinger · 9 years ago
    I think most of us gun owners still haven't figured out where our greatest dangers will be coming from: the drug cartels or our own government. Until that is determined, I really doubt much support is going to be raise for either argument.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mary · 9 years ago
    As a journalist, you might want to do some research into the gun distribution situation. American militias bought their survivalist arsenals at gun shows from jihadists, who expected us to destroy ourselves if they provided the weapons and/or to have seemingly unrelated caches of weapons for eventual in-house jihad. (Two macho groups using each other.) Some of those weapons end up as tactical support for drug dealers infiltrating the U.S. Part of the global jihad is to smack down the U.S. with drugs. Perhaps you could track down the connections or at least expose the intent.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mary · 9 years ago
    As a journalist, you might want to do some research into the gun distribution situation. American militias bought their survivalist arsenals at gun shows from jihadists, who expected us to destroy ourselves if they provided the weapons and/or to have seemingly unrelated caches of weapons for eventual in-house jihad. (Two macho groups using each other.) Some of those weapons end up as tactical support for drug dealers infiltrating the U.S. Part of the global jihad is to smack down the U.S. with drugs. Perhaps you could track down the connections or at least expose the intent.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 9 years ago
    Mike, I really respect your work in Iraq and Afghanistan, but you need to do some more fact checking. Many of the guns purchased illegally in the US and brought into Mexico are bought by "normal" Mexicans looking for weapons to protect their families from the violence and rampant kidnapings. Full auto from the factory AK47's and RPG-7's and Sov Bloc mortars are not going to the cartels from US Gun Shows. M240G's and M4/M16 series weapons are from Mexican Armed forces supplies. Without doubt, some unscrupulous gun dealers along the borders are intentionally selling weapons they know are going to end up in the hands of the cartels, but the lions share of the weapons are coming from south and central america through Guatamala. Mexico's southern border is as porous as the integrity of the people guarding it. The tons of illegal narcotics that fow accross out expansive border are crossing Mexicos southern border first. There is a reason why you don't hear about the thousands of Kilo's grabbed by their customs personnel.. same goes for weapons, human slaves etc. The Mexican government refuses to release the serial numbers of these confiscated weapons to the ATF.. there's a reason for that.

    Keep up the good work and keep safe...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cecil Trotter · 9 years ago
    "I am extremely well aware of the gun arguments -- from various sides -- and the high emotions surrounding them. That intimate knowledge causes me to suspect the gun-fanatics as much as the anti-gun fanatics. Neither camp can be counted on to tell the good, the bad and the ugly. None are to be trusted with mere facts, even when actual facts can be found."

    Really? Yet you are constantly quoting the anti-gun side in your recent posts. Sounds like you've found the side you trust the most, and it's not the side that has the Second Amendment to the US Constitution standing behind it.

    And when are we going to see these "actual facts"? All I see are more quotes from government officials who may very well have hidden agendas. These so called facts don't add up.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim · 9 years ago
    Reality is what it is and the reality is that drugs are completely illegal on both sides of the border. Yet 100's of TONS of drugs and 100's of Thousands of people cross the border illegally yearly. We cant secure weapons transfers across a much shorter border with hugely more lax rules of engagement in Afghanistan and the might of the US military... Israel cant seal a TINY border in Gaza from artillery rockets and explosives. New laws here will keep me and other law abiding citizens from buying whatever is outlawed, but it will have zero effect on what crosses the border.

    Even IF it did, the drugs cartels have ridiculous funds available. They can afford to spend $100K/mo. to bribe a single Mexican official. They really don't need that many guns. They can very very easily get whatever they need where simple guns are concerned. They obviously have plenty of hand grenades and full auto weapons, and neither of those can be bought here by an average citizen. There are plenty of people in the world in the international arms trading biz that will sell them whatever they want in a heartbeat.

    It does make a mighty convenient excuse for more gun control though.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    BK · 9 years ago
    Michael,
    I've read your blog for a few years now, if nothing else for than for the singular factor that you offered a firsthand, truthful, well researched account of the Iraq war. However, I am disappointed to say that on this issue you do not offer such coverage.

    Were the Mexican government to find a firearm that they knew came from out of the US or not from a US FFL, such as a full auto AK (perhaps Chinese? there are also other flavors) or a weapon that was given to them by our government (and subsequently stolen from Mexican armory), do you think they would do an ATF trace? How many cops do you know that would follow a dead end lead? Probably not many, even Mexican ones.

    Your site chronicles the actions and sacrifices of men and women who fight for our freedoms. One of the most important of those freedoms is the right to bear arms.

    Frankly I could give a rat's ass about Mexico. Despite the fact that their constitution is rather liberal towards the average Pablo owning arms, their corrupt government has all but legislated that right out of existence. That notwithstanding, do they not have police to enforce their own laws?

    The obvious answer is that the government actually should be doing what we pay them taxes to do. Securing the border appropriately would decrease the illegal commodities coming northward as well as any southbound.

    You're right, nobody seems to dispute that 'tons' of weapons are apparently flowing into Mexico. Especially journalists that don't do their homework.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim · 9 years ago
    This just really annoys me. Do you know how simple it is to buy a gun in this WORLD? The only reason the drugs cartels dont have tanks and surface to air missile systems is because they have decided not buy them for their own reasons.....they could have them within a few weeks if they thought it was in their best interests to have them. Do you really think an arms dealer in Iran or North Korea or XZY...istan or Nigeria....or any other 1000 places wouldn't be more than happy to fork over a few $100.00 AK-47's for a few million chump change dollars? ......it's just stupid.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim · 9 years ago
    who most has it in their strategic interest to see Mexico destabilized and turn into a massive problem for the USA....Russia obviously. If we are busy chasing our tail on our own border, we will have less resources to meddle in the former USSR.... The Russians probably don't know how to get weapons to people in Latin America though.....it's such a difficult and complex technical and logistical problem and alll....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Valerie, Phx, Arizon · 9 years ago
    Mexico's emminent collapse and the arming of thugs in Mexico has nothing to do with our Constitutional rights.

    I don't care who arms who in this battle to keep our country sovereign. What I care about is that our right to bear arms is not legislated away using transparent excuses. Everyone has an agenda, true, mine is to keep my right to bear arms. I don't trust our government and the first thing an untrustworthy government does is, you guessed it, disarm the citizens using any excuse necessary.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    casstx2 · 9 years ago
    Mike, I'm confused by your discussions on guns. I live in Texas, where guns are a fact of life. I'd certainly expect gun trafficking to be high in a border state, as well as sources, but does my owning a legally purchased firearm or 2 to protect my property from thieves and narcos, and my insistence on having a loaded shotgun in the house out in the country where I live in for same constitute being a gun fanatic? I don't think so, I grew up with them, like you said you did. It's normal life. My husband is military, same thing as you were, and he won't leave me alone on his constant never ending deployments without making sure the guns are in good shape and I remain a good shot. As I age, I've had to change weapons, we've got the right to buy and sell here without exchanging papers, and my husband isn't here most of the time to do the buying and selling, I do it. It's also my 2nd A right to own these guns because I don't trust the government and I don't trust any police force to get out to my house in time to "save" me or mine. They'd just get here in time to clean up the mess.

    'Guns to Mexico' has been happening all my life here. Yes, it's a big problem as the border creeps north, map or no map, but having protection, being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best doesn't make us fanatics, as I understand the word, it makes us prepared. Blame the criminals, not the honest people here, or in Florida where you are. I really don't know where you stand on the issue, but I understand the problems here first hand. Yeah, if you've got 25 guns and think you need all of them, sure you might be a fanatic, but having one for the house, one for the truck, one to carry out on the range to check the cattle or being alone as a woman, that's not being a fanatic, it's being sensible.

    I'm not going to criticize you, I like you, we've exchanged emails before and before the market crash, I supported you with contributions. I'd still do so today if I could afford it. But I can't tell who exactly you're leveling your criticisms at lately, gun owners or criminals. I'm not misinterpreting you, but looking at the big picture, and I really don't know what your message is. You won't give up your guns, but you seem to want us to give up ours because we're in a state next to the border? We're protecting ourselves in many cases, kidnappings are crazy here, robberies, it's not even safe to travel in the southern part of the state. Have you been to Juarez lately? Many areas are quite similar to situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, my husband says so and he knows, militias are forming to protect ranches and colonias. No one will guard the border but us, yet you seem to criticize us? Sure there are plenty of straw man purchases, but a lot of them are done simply because we don't trust any government, Texas, the US, Mexico.... There's a clear anti-gun agenda afoot lately, it's pretty much expected when Democrats are in power. In an ideal world we wouldn't need to even worry about it, but you of all people know this world isn't ideal. Owning a gun doesn't make you a fanatic.

    All I ask of you is to be a bit more clear on what you are thinking personally, and to make clear that you know what it's like here as well as in Afghanistan, where things are more predictable. You take life as it comes at you, it's the best you can do anywhere.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    matt · 9 years ago
    The reality is that the weaponry is coming from Central and South America. I would look towards Nicaragua, Venezuela and FARC these days. Military weapons such as automatic weapons, explosives, RPG's and hand grenades are simply not available through any normal channel in the States. Ammunition, on the other hand, is. This is the fallacy of the anti gun lobby. Blame America first.

    Weapons purchased in the States can be converted, but with what reliability? Pistols are pistols wherever they are found. Today, innocent Mexicans are being forced to arm themselves because of the pervasive gangs. That is probably onbe of the primary factors in gun purchases from the States.

    AR's and other "assault weapons" look very cool to some, but the reality is that they are simply single shot rifles.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Greg · 9 years ago
    The FBI and ATF have said that "trace" data can not be used to support conclusions like this.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    The Clinger · 9 years ago
    The Mexican drug issue and the guns flowing into Mexico that are generating so much fear mongering is nothing more than a Dem/ObamaNation opportunity/rationalization PSYOPS operation assisting the left to initiate the Brady philosophy to take the guns away from law abiding Americans. Australia should be a source for factual information source opposing taking away guns since their violent crime rate dramatically increased when guns were taken away from law abiding citizens. Nothing like the American citizen or any law abiding citizen obeying the law while the criminal in typical fashion disobeys the law and uses guns. The Criminals will really appreciate this. It will be 911 dial a prayer if this Dem/ObamaNation bunch has its way. As Marxist Saul Alinsky the South Chicago Community Organizer said ƒ??if you ask for 100% and only get 30% that is 300% more than you had. That is why you are seeing so many initiatives introduces by Obama. Obama is the consummate student of Saul Alinsky. Keep the opposition busy. He has a plan and it is falling in place.
    Can anyone verify the following as trueƒ???
    HERE IS Obama's RESPONSE WHEN HE BACKED OFF FROM HIS DECISION TO LET THE MILITARY PAY FOR THEIR WAR INJURIES...SEND THIS TO EVERYONE TO SHOW JUST WHAT THE NEW COMMANDER IN CHIEF THINKS OF OUR MILITARY WHO FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY AND GET HURT PROTECTING OUR FREEDOM!

    Bad press, including major mockery of the plan by comedian Jon
    Stewart, led to President Obama abandoning his proposal to require veteransƒ?? private health insurance to cover the estimated $540 million annual cost to the federal government of treatment for injuries to military personnel received during their tours on active duty.
    The President admitted that he was puzzled by the magnitude of the opposition to his proposal. ƒ??Look, itƒ??s an all volunteer force,ƒ? Obama complained. ƒ??Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now they whine about bearing the costs of their choice? It doesnƒ??t compute...ƒ??I thought these were people who were proud to sacrifice for their country,ƒ? Obama continued. ƒ??I wasnƒ??t asking for bloodƒ??just money. With the country facing the worst financial crisis in its history, Iƒ??d have thought that the patriotic thing to do would be to try to help reduce the nationƒ??s deficit. I guess I underestimated the selfishness of some of my fellow Americans.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    johnF · 9 years ago
    This whole topic is proof that, "Figures never lie, but liars always figure". I'm not talking about Mike, but about the people behind this. There are two primary reasons why this is getting media play. The first is to set up the narrative in order to soften people to the idea of more government controls of firearms. The second is that it's a "sexy" story that attracts attention. If our lax gun laws are causing all the violence in Mexico, why don't we have the same level of violence here? If our lax gun laws cause all the violence there, why don't they just stiffen their drug laws? If criminalizing gun possession would stop gun crime, why hasn't it worked for drug possession?
    I trust the mafia more than I trust the government. At least the mafia has some pretense of morality.
    Every time I read a story like this, I know someone is hard at work, trying to make it more difficult for me to possess the means to resist totalitarianism. Trying to make me look like an extremist for not trusting the government. Trying to make me seem abnormal for being responsible for my own safety. I have supported Michael Yon financially, and I think his writing from Iraq and Afghanistan is some of the best observation and analysis available, but on this issue it seems almost like a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome. I know that a lot of bad things have happened with guns, but a lot of bad things have been prevented with them too.
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    Harold · 9 years ago
    I've bought your book and generally felt well informed by your electronic writting, but frankly am disappointed by this issue and have sent the "unsubscribe" message thru the website.

    It is quite irresponsible of you to belive the goverment line that regular citizens of the United States are responsible for gun violence in Mexico. With even the barest of journalistic research, I believe you will find that the only group in the United States with large scale access to automatic weapons, hand grenades and explosives is.......the United States Government.
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    mark · 9 years ago
    What is going on in Mexico has ALWAYS been going. Before the Spanards showed up the indian/ native cultures were doing these things to each other for any number of reasons. The "drug trade" just makes good headlines. Even if there was no drug trade people would still be corrupt, controling and hurting each other. I think what has made America so great is the very limited behavor like this as a whole.
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    JP · 9 years ago
    The DOJ statement implies that the 90% figure is based on guns submitted by Mexico for tracing. If information from US government and private groups should be viewed with the understanding that the parties might have an agenda then double the vigilance for info from Mexico. Based on the make and location of the weapons seized they probably have a clue of their source. This may lead to (very) selective sampling, because pointing the finger at their northern border may lead to more US aid than admitting their southern border is the problem (or internal corruption). Does a truck load of Chinese AKs seized at the Guatemalan border get included in the 90% statistic?
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    vanessa · 9 years ago
    Michael, you are really letting us down with your shoddy reporting.
    We are in country everyday living this nightmare of our corrupt Government's out of control spending and our rights literally being taken away by the day.

    Mexico and the rest of South America is a big crap hole that has leaked into the US thanks to our Government and only bad has come out of our Government not doing its job.

    Our Founding Fathers in their wisdom gave our Government very few jobs to do and the job of securing our borders the most important job of all they have screwed up royally. Secure borders are important for the integrity of the country and by not securing them our country is literally being torn apart.

    I trust the people's wisdom to arm themselves. Like another commenter said the police would only arrive in time to clean up the mess. And for sure our Government will arrive to cover up and lie about what happened.

    Maybe you need to get back in country and start finding out what is really happening on our borders and cities, but that may not work as the Government goons will work to silience you when you discover for yourself what everyone here is telling you is the truth.

    We are not paranoid and we are not exajerating
    I love what our Founding Fathers set forth, but not what we have become.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Timothy Paul Roesch · 9 years ago
    Mike, I am disappointed. Maybe this was a 'sarcastic' story; meant to rile up some conversation?

    The point is, Mike, that I am concerned by the silence on the gun issue. My impression is that Obama or the puppet masters who control him are waiting for the signal. I don't know what that signal is only that things have been unnaturally quiet about 'guns'. I expected more bombast and blithering. Instead we get a few shots across the bow from Holder and little else.

    Maybe, Mike, you should come home and start reporting here. I wish I had your charisma and the contacts you have and the money (as little as that might be) to wander about the US and find the 'real' news stories and be able to post them where people can see and learn.

    If this 'dispatch' is how you believe, Mike, then maybe you should come back home because I think we are in for a something that will make 9/11 look like a minor scuffle in a preschool lunch line. Are you running away from problems at home, Mike?

    Or, maybe, you should stay in Afghanistan and tell stories about the America that was to the natives of Afghanistan. Stories about gun fanatics and drug cartels and lying politicians, sigh magnificently then return to your Hookah pipe.

    I would rather fight, possibly die, here.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pineland Ferg · 9 years ago
    Mr. Yon,

    If you really want to maintain credibility as a journalist, perhaps it would help if you didn't refer to people that disagreed with you or ask hard questions back as "fanatics". You do understand that there are some people who read your work that know far more about the subject at hand than you do, right?

    The first casualty of war is truth. Quit being part of the problem. If this subject so interests you them ask for some primary source data, i.e. the tracing information. Go down to Mexico City and ask to see the seized guns and check the numbers yourself. I bet you will be stonewalled.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SFC Winsor · 9 years ago
    Michael, since when is it fanatical to wave our precious US CONSTITUTION??????
    The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution if you didnƒ??t know PROTECTS the Constitution and all Liberties for that matter. The arms causing the strife in Mexico are already banned in the US. Lighten up on the 2A.
    Iƒ??m losing faith in your dedication to our nationƒ??s founding principles.
    OUT. SFC Winsor
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Butch · 9 years ago
    Okay Michael, I admit it. Iƒ??m, in your apparent interpretation, a ƒ??fanaticƒ?. It seems supporting the Second amendment as it is written and being an endowment member of the NRA means I no longer can have a reasonable thought. Give me a break. You make a giant leap in logic when you assume the ATF, with its past history, is objective in anything it reports. When you report they said, ƒ??ƒ??90% of the firearms that could be tracedƒ??ƒ? came from the US, my first question is what was the total number of firearms taken? Yes, in some states it is legal to own a machine gun, but I donƒ??t believe new ones can any longer be sold here. These are now used ones which, with a license, can be transferred between owners ƒ?? and cost thousands of dollars each. But let me ask you what I think is an obvious question. So say Iƒ??m a drug smuggler and Iƒ??m able to bring tons of coke into the United States. Do you really think Iƒ??m using a US Wal-Mart store as my major firearms source. Yes, some of my thugs, working both sides of the border, may steal a gun or three, but if I can get drugs ƒ?? which like guns are illegal in Mexico ƒ?? through Mexico wouldnƒ??t you think I would also include fully automatic Akƒ??s and M-16ƒ??s to supply my personal army? You may have lived in the South, but the colors you show on this subject, to me, donƒ??t reflect your heritage. Wait till itƒ??s your first amendment being questioned and weƒ??ll see how much you squeal then.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    G. Jones · 9 years ago
    It's interesting to note that this article says "90% of the weapons that could be traced" came from the U.S. Other numbers indicate approximately 1500-1600 weapons traced to the U.S. Most of the photos shown by the Mexican police/military show ordinance that is not available in the U.S. to anyone. This 90% number is used to insinuate that 90% of all weapons in Mexico come from the U.S. That is totally B.S. Maybe the U.S. does a better job of tracing weapons. What about the millions of weapons that have no ties to and are unavailable in the U.S?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve F. - Winter Ha · 9 years ago
    Michael,

    I have always appreciated and enjoyed your reporting/writing (sometimes the line is a bit blurry), but I'm afraid your skepticism towards the groups involved in this story have distorted your opinions to an extent. I don't believe that anyone can dispute the fact that both the government and the pro-gun lobbyists will jump at the chance to influence public perception in order to advance their respective causes. Nor can one dispute the fact that many people and groups have gotten wealthy by riding one side or the other of this debate. But the fact is, sufficient evidence supporting the Obama's administration theory that the current gun control laws are causing an increase in Mexico's drug war violence has not been released if it does actually exist. You can be skeptical or distrusting of either/both side's agenda but the absence of hard fact should be a red flag here, shouldn't it? What is a fact here, is that times are increasingly tough, people are increasing desperate, and gun sales are up. In my humble opinion, gun sales are up not because people are desperate but because they are scared. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that things will get worse, and if they wait, the gun laws will get more restrictive under the guise of Mexican drug violence issues and the American people are tired of surprises.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jimpenny · 9 years ago
    I have enjoyed your articles for two years, but on this subject we disagree. Our government has failed to fulfill their primary reason for being: to protect the borders against invasion. Indeed, our southern boundary can hardly be called a border, and we have been invaded. The gun issue is secondary. And with the cash that the drug cartels have available, they can buy weapons anywhere in the world. The USA just happens to be convenient. Having worked for a pipeline company in Nigeria, where supposedly only the government has guns, let me assure you: their was nothing you could not buy with cash. Nothing. And when it comes to armed confrontation, I do not want to be holding just a knife. And I do not trust governments. Period.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jagape · 9 years ago
    It seems that you have a distaste for the second amendment Michael. As a Gun Toten Fanatic, I as many others will die with a gun in our hands if someone tries to take us by force. To invade our country is to slap us in the face, slap me and I'm fighting. Right now the war in Mexico seems to be pretty close to home. With the gangs in this country (drug gangs) getting larger and more powerful, why don't you spend some time here and tell us the truth about what is going on.
    Let the poppy war in Afghanistan go and come tell us the truth here!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jerry argo · 9 years ago
    Micheal

    Methinks you have poo pooed in your mess kit this time. Until you have visited Mexico/USA border to research the situation you should change the subject back to what you know.

    Jerry
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Unix-Jedi · 9 years ago
    "Nobody seems to dispute that tons of weapons apparently are flowing into Mexico."

    Other than, you know, those "gun fanatics" who have been busily disproving you, oh, I'm sorry "misquoting you" (by quoting your words) and "misunderstanding" (despite the fact you've yet to *explain* what was "misquoted" or "misunderstood" preferring to double down on ignorance and passive-aggressiveness.)

    "Personally, I don't trust any government, nor do I trust the amorphous "gun lobby" in the United States. All are filled with overt and hidden agendas. Huge money flies around. "

    Hot damn! Where's my check?

    Who cares about Liberty, or the Constitution, when there's *money* to be blamed! (But in all honesty? It sounds better in the Original German when you blame the Jews. Doesn't translate to English and blaming Money so well.)

    " That intimate knowledge causes me to suspect the gun-fanatics as much as the anti-gun fanatics. Neither camp can be counted on to tell the good, the bad and the ugly. None are to be trusted with mere facts, even when actual facts can be found."

    So you trust no one. You refuse to look at *facts*, and instead you make your decisions, how exactly?

    Did you really think about this before you Zumbo'ed today? That paragraph *makes no sense* contextually. Facts are facts. Context can matter, and you can make the case that "pro gun" or "anti gun" groups are slanting their reporting, or the context....
    But this is on a subject where you are reporting only opinion, and the "facts" you've reported are unsourced and without context. You cited McCaffrey, and failed to note that all of that nice military equipment he was in charge of in the late 90s is now being used by the cartels. Might discredit him as a source if he's part of the *problem*.
    "90% of *traced* guns"? That's been shredded repeatedly in your comments, and you've yet to take note of that.
    the "90%" fact It's a self-selected sample. Yet you believe that. And you'll continue to disperse loaded opinions, and whine you're being "misunderstood" and "misquoted."

    Well, Mr. Yon, it's *very* simple to fix that.

    State *exactly* what you mean, stop hinting and taunting and avoiding, and put in this space *what you believe*.

    You *are* a writer, are you not? Perhaps it's time to step up, man up, and accept your failures and your own culpability in this "misunderstanding." Say what you mean. Or stop complaining that you're being "misunderstood". Because as you continue down the Zumbo path* it's becoming more obvious that yes, we did understand you perfectly.

    * (which we'll shortly have to rename Yon, since even Zumbo did research, reported it, and *made very clear* where he stood.)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom Cox · 9 years ago
    Michael,

    You stepped in it, here, as others have pointed out. There is no evidence of a stream of "weapons" from the US to Mexico in the document you copied from the feds -- just assertions and vague, sloppy statistics. Do you want to read about a REAL concern about things going on along the US-Mexican border?

    Check "Hezbollah Using Mexican Drug Routes Into U.S., on Newsmax.
    http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/hezbollah_mexico_smuggle/2009/03/27/196768.html

    [excerpt]

    "Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.

    "The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America''s tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

    "Hezbollah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels," said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)."

    [end excerpt]

    Do some homework, Michael. Read the article.

    Stay Safe,
    Tom Cox
    Charlotte, TN
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom Cox · 9 years ago
    Michael,

    You stepped in it, here, as others have pointed out. There is no evidence of a stream of "weapons" from the US to Mexico in the document you copied from the feds -- just assertions and vague, sloppy statistics. Do you want to read about a REAL concern about things going on along the US-Mexican border?

    Check "Hezbollah Using Mexican Drug Routes Into U.S., on Newsmax.
    http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/hezbollah_mexico_smuggle/2009/03/27/196768.html

    [excerpt]

    "Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.

    "The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America''s tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

    "Hezbollah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels," said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)."

    [end excerpt]

    Do some homework, Michael. Read the article.

    Stay Safe,
    Tom Cox
    Charlotte, TN
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Butchko · 9 years ago
    Michael,
    Have you ever heard of "balance of trade"? Gun running helps our current account and drug money invested in the US helps our captial account.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Todd Bradish · 9 years ago
    The use of the term "Gun-Fanatic" is a perjorative and unmasks your own personal prejudice. That, in itself is distrubing. However, the fact that you have to ask which group is most trustworthy makes me wonder if you have really learned anything in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    The people you should trust are the people who have absolutely no interest or power to take your liberty. Whether you like gun ownership or not, the founders of this country recognized the inalienable right to self-protection and the protection of family and property from all those that wish to do harm, INCLUDING and possibly more importantly, an over-reaching government.

    "Gun Fanatics" as you refer to us, don't want to take away any part of your personal freedoms or your liberty. Anti-gun groups and the federal government both would like to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms (albeit, for slightly different reasons) and will say and do virtually anything to justify their actions.

    Do yourself a favor and read "Unintended Consequences" by John Ross. It will educate you about the gun culture and the abuse of that culture by the federal government.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Dettmer · 9 years ago
    I agree with you Michael. It's in the nature of politically-charged issues like this one to settled into polarized positions that seem unresolvable.

    The Second Amendment is a very important one, but it has a critical introductory phrase that makes the amendment less than an unrestricted right to bear arms: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." The Founders' intent, having just fought a long, exhausting, expensive war with citizen-soldiers against a better-equipped and trained standing army, lay with the defense of the country from without. I suspect, but no one can be sure, that they might have envisioned a "second American Revolution" against a government that had assumed excessive power---after all, that's what they just got finished fighting to achieve independence.

    But since that time, we now have a) a standing national military, and b) 50 "well-regulated" state militias. No less a personage than former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger maintained that the right to keep and bear arms is not unrestricted. I'm sure the Founders never envisioned well-armed Bloods, Crips, MS13, or Aryan Nations roaming loose in the US. Yet the current economic turmoil, which is likely to persist for years, emphasizes the fact that both anarchy and repressive government control (a la the 1930s, in places like the US, Germany, and Russia) lie just beneath the surface of a civilized veneer.

    This is not a simple topic. But it is certainly one that will be getting more concerted attention in the future...from both sides.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rick in colorado · 9 years ago
    Mike,

    While I have the utmost in respect for you, you seem to be ignoring the technical facts in a political issue. While I agree that there may have been domestic firearms moved into Mexico in the past, all of the recent stories and studies are showing a trend toward TRUE military weapons, not simply "military-styled" weapons. The story you referenced this AM describes machine guns and grenades. A recent LA times story reports that Mexican drug dealers are obtaining machine guns (full auto), grenades and rocket launchers (probably RPG's) and a McCaffrey study described fully automatic machine guns.

    Tell me what gun store in the US offers grenades and RPG's, and what gun store in the US offers fully automatic rifles in case loads and quantity, let alone an under two month ATF purchase process and a $200 transfer stamp PER WEAPON. This is class stuff, and HEAVILY regulated.

    Again, there may have been a problem in the past, but the current problem isn't mom and pop gun stores in the southern US selling machine guns, rpg's and grenades. This is true military stuff, not the pseudo "assault weapons" that pepper the political landscape.

    Take a couple days and treat this issue like you did with Iraq when you started. Put feet on the ground, ignore the reports and report back on what's really happening, rathr than parroting someone else's political agenda.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Harry · 9 years ago
    I think we have to be very sceptical of reports that some guns were traced back to the USA. Other than canada what is the liklyhood of the origin of a firearm actually tracable? I saw the report about the senate debating the flow of guns to Mexico and it stated that 60 guns were traced back to the USA. Ok so out of litterally thousands of guns and by the pictures offered by the police in photo ops they have siezed thousands over a period of time they traced back 60. Does that mean the others were untracable? were did they come from?
    Those Semi auto AK47 Clones used to be readily available in Canada up to the early 90's. A proffesor at SFU (Mauser) did a study on the rate of compliance with voluntary registration. He checked with the first west coast importer and he was offered that this one importer had brought in over 30,000 of the now prohibited clones. A check with the Canadian firearms center found that in all of Canada only 3000 were registered. There were 2 other major importers along with several smaller custom importers. We Canadians are polite enough but not very honest it seems.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    wolfie · 9 years ago
    I was very amused to read the ATF statement that California was one of the main sources of assault weapons to Mexico. I, as a resident of California cannot purchased a semi-automatic AK47, AR15, or any other so called assault weapon. If I owned one the so called assault rifles prior to the law, I must register it with the attorney general. 50 cal. rifles are also illegal. If I purchase a "legal rifle" I must go though a federal licensed firearm dealer,pay a fee and wait two weeks. If I purchase a pistol, I musti.e. private party, gun shows. I would like the ATF gentleman to explained how these weapons are purchased in California? go though all of the above plus take firearms course and test and pay associated fees. There is no exception to the laws
  • This commment is unpublished.
    staghounds · 9 years ago
    Messrs. Hoover and Placido might have said exactly the same thing about the cars and airplanes used in the drug trade, too.

    Here's how the figure is silly- "submitted for tracing". In ordered to be accepted for an ATFE trace, a gun submitted from outside the US must have some indication of lawful sale or production inside the US. ALL guns imported into the US MUST have a permanently stamped import mark.

    I believe the ATFE will not trace or accept a submission for tracing of a foreign made firearm that does not bear a US import stamp. (I've submitted guns for tracing, but I'm not a foreign country, so I can't say that from personal experience.) Such weapons were never lawfully in the US, they never moved lawfully in any part of the US stream of commerce, and their numbers do not appear on any ATFE record or database. Even trying to trace them is a waste of time. Even if Mexico DID submit the million for tracing, and ATFE accepted them for tracing, if they had never moved lawfully in the US stream of commerce, they would NOT be among the guns that "could be traced".

    So yes, it is entirely possible for the Mexican government to have seized a million guns, out of which only 1500 "could be traced". So even in this scenario, Mexico submits a million guns, ATFE traces them all, 1500 show up in the database, a million can't be traced, 1350 have US sources, 150 have no US source. So "Of 1,501500 guns, 90% of those that could be traced come from US sources. " is actually true, and sounds terrible.

    1501500 x 90% = 1350.

    Talk to anyone at ATFE, or anyone who submits guns for tracing.

    Find out how many acual guns were seized in fiscal 2007, not how many were submitted.

    Find out how many of them were made in the US after 1968, which is when very poor records were first kept.

    Find out what the ATFE trace database actually covers.

    You're a better reporter than this.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark C. · 9 years ago
    Michael,

    Walls and Fences provide a false sense of security, what we really need is eyes on the border and the ability to quickly react to anything suspicious. We need more Border Patrol agents and we need them to patrol in pairs instead of alone, they should be shuffled around on a regular basis (PCS them at least once every 2 years.) A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; today one corrupt border patrol agent in the wrong place can undo the effectiveness of thousands. Iƒ??m sure that 98% of our Border Patrol agents are honest, however here in Arizona I hear tales of corrupt border patrol agents on a regular basis.

    Mexico is awash in billions of black market dollars flowing from the United States. If we really want to get serious about helping Mexico we need to legalize as much as we can stand while taking even stricter measures against the rest. Itƒ??s the people of the United States demanding Billions in black market drugs, and entrepreneuring criminals meeting that need. Shrink the size and power of the black market and you shrink the size and power of the cartels. Couple that with a stronger border and we will have created an environment where the Mexican government can reassert its monopoly on violence.

    I agree that ƒ??Neither camp can be counted on to tell the good, the bad and the ugly." I havenƒ??t heard any reasonable discussion in a very long time between the two extremes. We just need to make sure that people who buy guns are supposed to be able to buy guns and that if someone goes out and buys 50 AK-47ƒ??s in a year, someone looks in on that person to make sure those weapons are not being fed into the black market. I am a gun owner and I am not threatened by reasonable measures meant to make life a little more difficult for criminals.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    argonaut · 9 years ago
    You were right when you stated "the U.S. government who would fit the facts to fit their agendas".

    The document you quote is an excellent example of this. "In fact, according to ATFƒ??s National Tracing Center, 90 percent of the weapons that could be traced were determined to have originated from various sources within the U.S. " As previous posters have noted the US gov't selectively chooses it's words. Remove three words in that statement "that could be" and now you have convinced me the US is a problem. However, they did not do that. The statement begs the question, how many could not be traced and why? Was it because they did not have serial numbers? Or, is it because the guns were never in the US and therefore can't be traced by the US gov't.

    Let us do an intellectual exercise and see if we can glean from the document what percentage could not be traced. First, the document uses numbers from FY2007 for guns from the US. This always makes me suspect as to why the most current year is not used which means it was probably less. But, this is all we have to go with.

    Guns from Texas 1,112 + other 47 states 435=1,547 total guns traced to the US.

    Deaths from drug violence in Mexico 2008 =6,000 assume cops killed bad guys -500 = 5,500 assume knives or other used 20% of the time -1,100=4,400. "most of the killings are trafficker on trafficker"

    4400-1,547 = 2,853 more murders from guns then guns traced to US
    or 2,853/1,547 *100=184% more murders from guns then guns traced to US

    Assuming the Mexicans recovered at least as many guns as there were murders, then one must conclude most of the firearms must not have come from the US. This is undoubtedly a low number. It is very hard to imagine a scenario in which more murders are committed then guns seized. Especially since even the drug runners won't bring a knife to a gun fight.

    The document does support however that the Cartels are trying to purchase machineguns and hand grenades from the US. Fortunately they tried to purchase them from DEA agents. However, it does not say that any such weapons have been purchased in the US and it explicitly fails to mention any of these such weapons in its list of types of weapons being siezed in route to Mexico.

    Also, of note the document says that the ATF has been working closely with Mexican law enforcement to trace grenade seizures. Of note is that no where does the document say or imply any were traced to the US. Only, that they are worried about them being used in the US. One could conclude that Mexican explosive weapons being smuggled into the US is a problem.

    6000 dead is a serious problem even if most are drug dealers. 10% of the deaths are police. That is a very serious problem. We should help Mexico in any way we can that does not infringe on honest citizens rights. We should complete the border fence and we should vastly increase the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US from Mexico. We should either legalize drugs or make the penalty severe, middle of the road is only hurting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David Quin · 9 years ago
    I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment. I also have grown up in the South, and have fired a number of weapons, though not as many as Michael.

    We are given a list of ammo, but no idea of what weapons are in demand. We are told that machine guns and grenades are being sought, but neither of these weapons are available to most gun owners (and probably many have no desire to own either.) Several of those cartridges could fit semi-automatic weapons (Mini 14 and Mini 23 come to mind), but those weapons do not seem to be the weapon of choice by the drug cartel.

    I find it ironic that Mexico (and many in America) are concerned about the influx of assorted weapons to Mexico, but the same politicians who are wanting to deal with this issue do not have the same concern when Mexico smuggles drugs into this country.

    Many want answers, but America (and Mexico) are unwilling to do what it takes to stop the trade. Those solutions are not politically correct, and does not fit the agenda the current administration is pushing. There is much not stated in this report, and what is not mentioned is probably more important than what is.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    mcarroll · 9 years ago
    first of all michael, nobody is literally "waving the constitution" in anyone's face. are those of us who believe in the wisdom of our founding fathers and believe in the constitutional amendments "fanatics". wow. i've known all kinds of gun owners, and i have yet to meet someone who i would define as a fanatic. i know there are some dumbies out there that own guns, but to say that those who believe in their constitutional rights are "fanatics" is absurd. i served and took an oath to uphold the constitution - as did you.

    also, saying you don't trust the gun lobby is a little vague. i have seen the gun lobby do nothing but present facts against the barrage of lies that are spewed out of the mouths of those who would like to tear down our constitution and tear down our country from the inside. so what don't you trust about the gun lobby? what's their hidden agenda? their agenda is to protect our rights - I hardly think they hide this. you sound like another "talking head" when you address this subject.

    be more specific and give documentation if you are going to make accusations.

    stay safe.
    mike
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack Feldman · 9 years ago
    I'm a professor and somewhat well-versed in research, statistics and reasoning from data. You've fallen for distorted figures and (deliberately) misleading statements. Your war reporting is outstanding, intelligent and sensitive, but in this you've run up against the limits of your expertise. There's no shame in that; it happens to us all. It would be a shame, however, if you didn't learn from it.

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