Michael's Dispatches

Tons of Arms Flowing into Mexico, But From Where?

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

Comments   

# John 2009-03-30 20:26
> 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-rela ted 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!
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# John 2009-03-30 21:34
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.
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# Randall 2009-03-30 21:38
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
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# a&n 2009-03-31 02:29
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.
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# Bruce 2009-03-31 02:45
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 characterizatio n 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.
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# neatie 2009-03-31 02:46
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..
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# Bob 2009-03-31 02:49
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.
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# Hal Messinger 2009-03-31 03:54
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.
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# Mary 2009-03-31 04:01
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.
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# Mary 2009-03-31 04:03
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.
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# John 2009-03-31 04:04
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...
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# Cecil Trotter 2009-03-31 04:04
"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.
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# Jim 2009-03-31 04:05
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.
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# BK 2009-03-31 04:13
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.
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# Jim 2009-03-31 04:17
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.....the y 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.
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# Jim 2009-03-31 04:31
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....
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# Valerie, Phx, Arizona 2009-03-31 04:39
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.
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# casstx2 2009-03-31 04:58
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.
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# matt 2009-03-31 05:14
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.
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# Greg 2009-03-31 05:17
The FBI and ATF have said that "trace" data can not be used to support conclusions like this.
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# The Clinger 2009-03-31 05:37
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/rat ionalization 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.
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# johnF 2009-03-31 07:51
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 2009-03-31 10:48
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 2009-03-31 11:51
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 2009-03-31 11:52
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 2009-03-31 11:58
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.
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# Timothy Paul Roesch 2009-03-31 12:12
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 (a) 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.
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# Pineland Ferg 2009-03-31 12:44
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.
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# SFC Winsor 2009-03-31 12:52
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
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# Butch 2009-03-31 13:20
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.
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# G. Jones 2009-03-31 13:27
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?
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# Steve F. - Winter Haven, FL 2009-03-31 13:31
Michael,

I have always appreciated and enjoyed your reporting/writi ng (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.
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# jimpenny 2009-03-31 13:55
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.
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# Jagape 2009-03-31 13:57
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!!!
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# jerry argo 2009-03-31 14:31
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
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-03-31 14:52
"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 "misunderstandi ng" (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 "misunderstandi ng." 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.)
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# Tom Cox 2009-03-31 15:12
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 counterterroris m 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
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# Tom Cox 2009-03-31 15:15
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 counterterroris m 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
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# John Butchko 2009-03-31 15:22
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.
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# Todd Bradish 2009-03-31 15:34
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.
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# Bill Dettmer 2009-03-31 15:59
I agree with you Michael. It's in the nature of politically-cha rged 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-soldier s 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.
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# rick in colorado 2009-03-31 16:37
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-style d" 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 3 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.
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# Harry 2009-03-31 17:32
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.
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# wolfie 2009-03-31 17:48
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
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# staghounds 2009-03-31 18:03
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.
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# Mark C. 2009-03-31 18:49
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.
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# argonaut 2009-03-31 19:13
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.
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# David Quin 2009-03-31 19:24
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.
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# mcarroll 2009-03-31 20:51
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
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# Jack Feldman 2009-03-31 20:52
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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# John Gorman 2009-03-31 21:14
Dear Mike: You are one of the best at accurately reporting on what you see and hear. You then make accurate and insightful assessments. Your reporting in this area is top notch. BUT, always a but, please stay away from political and social commentary on subjects that are outside your training and expertise. These ongoing arguments just detract from your excellent reporting. Opinions surrounding these issues are at times backed by biases and political positions that are often half-baked and inaccurate. Getting dragged or jumping into these arguments without much study and thought might be counterproducti ve and may work against your creditability in areas where you really know your stuff. Opinions are like noses----you know the rest.
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# argonaut 2009-03-31 22:02
So, as I earlier posted this article states 1,547 guns were traced back to the US from Mexico in 2007.

So, how many guns were seized by Mexico in 2007.

"According to Mexican Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mouri?ño, 4,447 assault weapons and 4,451 small arms came into the hands of the Mexican government in 2007."

http://mexidata.info/id1727.html

So lets do the math 1,547/(4,447+4, 4451) *100=17.39%

17.39% of ALL guns siezed in Mexico in 2007 were traced back to the United States of America.

So, tell me Micheal can I be trusted with these facts? I am using the gov'ts figures. Do a google search for "90% of guns in Mexico supplied by US" see how often the media is stating as a fact that 90% of all the guns siezed in Mexico are from US. Pelosi and other are calling for more restrictions based on this made up fact. Your a reporter prove me wrong.

This is simple frickin math.

PS I do not own a single firearm.
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# AO 2009-03-31 22:37
Michael,
Wow, you seemed to have really stepped in it! I could be misinterpreting you but for some reason I donƒ??t think that you were including the majority of the NRAƒ??s membership & gun owners in general when you made the comment about gun-fanatics and anti-gun fanatics. I believe that there will always be those on the far right or left of an argument that hijack it for their own purposes (and that sometimes includes the lobbyists). The rest of us live somewhere in between and while we may have strong feelings one way or another we certainly are not in the fanatical range.

Regardless..... ..A couple of thoughts/questions:

1. If guns are going into Mexico from the U.S., were they legally or illegally purchased? My guess is that the majority are illegally purchased. If this is the case then we go after those who are buying and selling illegally. If there are cases of guns being purchased legally and then brought to Mexico & sold then we (or the Mexican gov't) go after them on a case by case basis as the law allows. NO need to ban any weapons here in the U.S.

2. Our borders are too porous on BOTH sides. (Pardon me for stating the obvious) I recently drove into Mexico via Nogales/Tucson and we were not searched at all on the way into Mexico but our van was taken apart on the way back into the U.S. (by the U.S. border patrol) If Mexico is so worried about guns coming in then they need to step it up and start looking. Considering we were in a van and therefore had the room to have a lot of things in there, they (the Mexican authorities) should have also taken it apart on the way in. (I think of it as similar to standing in line at the airport for securityƒ??..pa in in the arse, but ABSOLUTELY necessary) It seemed to me the Mexican border patrol were more concerned with getting our ƒ??feeƒ? to drive a U.S. car into Mexico. My tia (aunt) never plans for being stopped on the way in, only on the way out. I am pretty sure the gun smugglers know this too.

Just my two cents.
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# Gismo Fly 2009-03-31 23:27
Dear Mike,

Phew! You could build a battleship with the flak that's been shot at you for challenging the gun culture. I've no doubt that the NRA are amongst America's finest - good upstanding citizens who always keep their weapon pointing down the range. "Moses" was the NRA President for heaven's sake!

I understand that the problem is finding US sourced weapons in the hands of Mexican drug gangsters. If the guns were AK47's we could blame the Chinese...but they ain't and we need to cut off the source. 50 cal rifles? There's absolutlely no point in wearing a flak jacket, officer.

Come on, fellas - it's painful but you know you've got to stop the supply of weapons to the open market. The irony is that Americans are supplying the weapons that make sure the drugs get to the American market. That is so cruel....and suicidal.

With affection and much angst.
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# argonaut 2009-04-01 01:59
Dear Gizmo Fly,

You state "If the guns were AK47's we could blame the Chinese...but they ain't"

However they are,
"The report published on the web page www.pgr.gob.mx reveals that just in 2008 18 thousand 60 "long and short" firearms were seized, mostly AK47, better known as "Goat's Horns" and AR-15, as well as .38 super, .45 and .9 millimeter caliber pistols."

http://www.rightsidenews.com/200902063581/border-and-sovereignty/mexican-federals-seize-29000-firearms.html

Note it says mostly AK47's and quotes a Mexican gov't website. I don't know this newsite so I don't trust them. But, I don't read Spanish and I can't seem to get babblefish to help with reading the gov't site.

As everyone knows AK47's are fully automatic and illegal to import or sell to anyone w/o a federal firearms license. So a straw buyer would not be able to purchase these in the US.

So feel free to verify. If true though, does that mean we CAN blame the Chinese?

No one has a problem with arresting and prosecuting gun runners. If we want Mexico to stop drug runners then we should help by stopping gun runners. I however fail to see how claiming 90% of all firearms siezed in Mexico came from the US without any proof helps. (Not Mr. Yon, but almost all the other press and democrats) I fail to see how calling people names who point out that this is an unsubstantiated claim helps. I fail to see how Congress calling for more restrictions on hunting rifles helps.

Let's assume we stop the less then 20% of the guns used in Mexicon that come from US. Will it stop the problem? If we recognize the large number coming from elsewhere then maybe we can put pressure on other gov'ts to help truely stop the flow. Being dishonest about the source may help the blame America first crowd, it may help the anti-gun crowd, and it may help the Mexican gov't shift the blame to the US, but it does not help fix the problem. So, I am trying to help the Mexican people by helping to stop the true problem or at least identify it. What are you doing?
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# Mad Saint Jack 2009-04-01 04:17
After hearing Clintonƒ??s comments in Mexico on the expiration of the assault weapons ban I looked up the murder rate in Mexico to see what happened in 2004 when the ban expired.

2000 14.11
2001 13.94
2002 13.04
2003 17.5

2004 11.1

2005 10.6
2006 10.8

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_murder_rate

hmmmm.
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# Wesley Young 2009-04-01 04:54
Hello Michael
I want to say I am a fan of your work and your courage to tell the truth. I want say at the outset that I am a fan of our second amendment. Like you I have been around firearms since I was very young. I do see a trend in the reporting and talking points that I hear from both the media and government officials that hint at more firearms regulation for honest Americans.
That being said I have no sympathy for smugglers no matter what they are trafficking, or whether they are traveling north or south. Getting firm control of the border would reduce the problem of smuggling greatly whether it is guns going south or drugs and people going north. If the drug cartels are using fully automatic assault rifles (AK47s, M16s, UZI machine pistolsƒ??) they probably are not from the USA, the cost to get them here would be prohibitive. There are much cheaper ways to get them. Why would the Mexican crime/drug cartels get their guns in the USA from gun shows and gun shops one or two at a time? They have enormous resources and are competent smugglers! I came across an article by Ralph Weller who has some personal experience with this subject.
Wesley Young
Here is link to his article and the first sentence. Mr. Weller makes some good points about small arms in Mexico from his personal experience.

You and I Can't Buy the Guns Mexican Cartels Own
The Administration is Not Dealing Straight With Us on Mexico's Gun Problem
http://www.gunnewsdaily.com/rw807.html
Ralph Weller
March 1 2009
Let's set things straight right up front. Yes, some guns are being smuggled into Mexico from the U.S. Most are handguns.
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# J.H. 2009-04-01 13:39
You are being unfair to Mr. Yon because of how OVERLY sensitive you are to a gun ban. Mr. Yon was pointing out a problem with Mexico and everyone here has got on their high horse about gun control thinking your being attacked by Mr. Yon. I've read what he wrote and what commenters are writing and there is a big difference and it looks like most people have not actually used their minds when reading his comments on Mexico. If you really look you will see that he said almost nothing and really just posted some documents and stories. But feelings are hurt because gun control makes emotions run high.

How much do you really know about what is going on from America to Mexico? Mike Yon openly says he doesn't know but many readers act like experts.

Arizona:
Federal agents swooped down on a north Phoenix gun store Tuesday in the biggest weapons bust in years, highlighting Arizona's major role as an arms conduit to violent drug cartels in Mexico. Authorities said the store was a source for at least 650 high-powered weapons, including 250 AK-47 automatic weapons, smuggled to drug cartels for use in the escalating Mexican drug war. That war left 2,500 dead last year, and Arizona weapons were used to assassinate police and battle army squads near the border, authorities said.
http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/2008/05/07/20080507akbust0507.html

Texas:
In October, members of the Black Jack team looking for a slaying suspect raided a home in Laredo and found 10 automatic weapons being readied for shipment across the border. An illegal immigrant arrested in the raid was guarding the guns for a cell controlled by Mexican crime boss Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, a leader of one of the feuding drug cartels, ICE officials said.
Investigators say their cases often unfold after customers are seen leaving retail stores with what appears to be an unusual amount of weaponry or ammunition. Store employees also tip officials to oversized purchases.
Last year, ICE agents in Brownsville last year arrested a married couple trying to transport 17,650 rounds of ammunition into Mexico after they were seen leaving a Wal-Mart with a large purchase. The couple stockpiled much of the ammunition in a bus station locker, investigators said.
http://www.officer.com/article/article.jsp?id=28032&siteSection=1

Mexico:

Must See Video: American Guns Are Fueling Mexicoƒ??s Drug Wars ƒ?? .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Used to Kill Mexican Police Officer

http://www.gunguys.com/?p=2901

New York:

The initial raid focused on a Rensselaer Falls home where five people were arrested Oct. 6. The cache of weapons, considered one of the larger seizures in county history, included 72 firearms. The weapons included nine handguns, a .50-caliber sniper rifle and various assault rifles and shotguns.

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20081021/NEWS05/310219964/Police++feds+arrest+20+suspects+in+early-morning+drug+raids


Tulsa: 1997 a little old but shows there is more out there than you know or did you know about that?
On July 2, undercover narcotics agents served a warrant at
Thao's home, 12121 E. 29th Court, to search for drugs. They found a
stockpile of land mines, hand grenades, dynamite and other
explosives, police said.
ATF agents are investigating the possible connection between
what was found in Thao's residence and a cache of explosives
discovered last week in the A.B. Jewell Water Reservoir at 21st
Street and 193rd East Avenue.
Police divers fished about 200 military explosives from the
reservoir July 28, after a fisherman pulled a string of grenades
from the water. Officials said it appeared that someone had thrown
the explosives into the reservoir to get rid of them.
ATF spokesman Dave Roberts has said some of the serial numbers
on the weapons from both finds are "similar" and may have been
stolen from the same military source.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=626452



Louisiana:
Feds raid Louisiana gun store
Authorities said they uncovered a scheme at the shop that included forging law enforcement officers' signatures and using a photocopy of the officers' law enforcement credentials to purchase handguns from a New York-based distributor at discounted prices.

http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-laguns_17tex.ART.State.Edition2.431eb3d.html

California:

Federal agents said Saturday that they confiscated 50% more guns than they expected to find at the Compton gun store they raided last week.
U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents discovered more than 3,300 weapons and more than 1.6 million rounds of ammunition at Boulevard Sales and Service and a sister store in Ventura County, said Susan Raichel, an agency spokeswoman.
In the Thursday raid, agents arrested a son of the store's owners and an employee, and charged them with selling ammunition to a felon. The offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
http://articles.latimes.com/2007/mar/25/local/me-briefs25.1

Boston:
One undercover FBI agent lived, partied and dealt to the gang for over a year of the two-year sting operation. Posing as a semi legitimate businessman from Texas, the undercover agent worked in conjunction with two other undercover agents who posed as truckers.
Officials said they transported Outlaws' cars to Mexico - cars which the Outlaws then claimed as stolen to collect insurance money. Earning the gang's trust, the agent then disclosed his other operation - trafficking cocaine into the country from Mexico.
Two gang members, Timothy Silvia, of Taunton, and Todd Donofrio, of
Stoughton, were the agents' key customers in the sting, authorities said.
Fronting a 10-kilogram, $180,000, coke bust with a Hummer and a new
Harley, Silvia and Donofrio met the agent at the Westgate Mall in Brockton
on Monday night, handing over $55,000 in cash, in addition to the
vehicles, officials said.
The agents handed over five kilos of cocaine. Silvia opened the package
of white powder. The waiting cops descended.
http://www.jamesobrien.cc/index.php?page=stories&family=journalism&category=BostonNOW-col-_Crime&display=89

Yea butƒ??ƒ??ƒ??.. It is always something about how youƒ??re getting done wrongƒ??..

My point is Mr. Yon is not the bad guy here.

My point is there is more things going on in America then any one person can be so informed onƒ??.the above being an example.

When you take that and all the other stories we donƒ??t know about and about all the bad guys that have not been caughtƒ??.Then can you say that these weapons are not coming from America and be 100% sure.

If any of you had enough money and the desire to do ƒ??somethingƒ? could ƒ??youƒ? get it done? HELL YES! Donƒ??t think the other guy canƒ??t.

Good luck to you Mike you have been a great help to our servicemen and women and thanks for ƒ??ALLƒ? of your reports!
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# Kevin P. 2009-04-01 14:40
In Mexico, it is difficult for law abiding citizens to obtain and carry guns, even though the Mexican Constitution has a provision guaranteeing the right to keep arms. It is instructive to compare:

a) Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with strict gun control: about 1,500 murders in 2008.
b) Just across the border, El Paso, Texas, awash in legally owned guns, many of them owned by Americans of Mexican descent: 18 homicides in 2008!

The lesson is clear. It's a pity that many in both governments don't understand it.
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# Kevin P. 2009-04-01 14:40
Michael, here is a useful reference that you need to read in order to understand how firearms tracing works in the US. As many have pointed out already, 90% of firearms traced were traced back to the US is a meaningless statistic without knowing how much firearms were seized from the drug cartels in the first place.

Clueless: The Misuse of BATF Firearms Tracing Data
http://www.davekopel.com/2A/LawRev/CluelessBATFtracing.htm

According to the ATF itself, ATF tracing requests cannot and should not be used as a barometer of how often a weapon is used in a crime.

You also lower your own credibility when you call gun owners gun fanatics. They, often from personal experience, know more about firearms, firearms law, firearm use in crime and self defense, and gun politics - much more than even uniformed government officers, and certainly much more than the clueless press. If they are saying that this story is full of BS, then you need to take that seriously, because they are probably right.
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# Kevin P. 2009-04-01 14:42
Michael, here is a useful reference that you need to read in order to understand how firearms tracing works in the US. As many have pointed out already, 90% of firearms traced were traced back to the US is a meaningless statistic without knowing how much firearms were seized from the drug cartels in the first place.

Clueless: The Misuse of BATF Firearms Tracing Data
http://www.davekopel.com/2A/LawRev/CluelessBATFtracing.htm

According to the ATF itself, ATF tracing requests cannot and should not be used as a barometer of how often a weapon is used in a crime.

You also lower your own credibility when you call gun owners gun fanatics. They, often from personal experience, know more about firearms, firearms law, firearm use in crime and self defense, and gun politics - much more than even uniformed government officers, and certainly much more than the clueless press. If they are saying that this story is full of BS, then you need to take that seriously, because they are probably right.

P.S. Sorry for any multiple posts, the comment form is confusing.
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# Scott Dudley 2009-04-01 15:29
Two types of gun nuts. Those that wantj to ban all guns whatsoever and those that want no bans whatsoever. I would hope most are in the middle. Guns for sport and self defense, yes. Automatic weapons, .50 cal. sniper rifles, no.
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# SPQR 2009-04-01 15:41
Mexico has virtually NO domestic production of small arms. They do however make a G36 clone in small numbers. The US has a large commercial and military small arms manufacturing industry. So its not a stretch to say that a high percentage of the guns in Mexico come from the US. When was the last time you saw a Winchester, Colt or Remington with "Heche en Mexico" on it? NEVER. The question is how the US arms were obtained. The commercial pistols, shotguns and rifles that ALOT of otherwise law-abiding mexican citizens secretly keep hidden at their homes for protection in lawless areas like the border could rationally come from relatives and friends in the large Mexican immigrant population in the US.

These are not what we see being used by the cartels and criminal elements within the Mexican government; We see military arms being used. The kind that are impossible to get by the average American. These arms arm coming from around the globe as well as US made arms from corrupt officials within Mexico's army and government. I long for the day that the Mexican government releases the serial # of a full auto M16 picked up in a raid. They will NEVER do it! It will surely trace back to themselves, El Salvador, China, Columbia ect ect.

There is also a huge misconception in the US that an average citizen can buy military small arms in the US. Citizens CAN buy "look alike" military small arms. On the outside the resemble their military brethern but thats where the similarities stop. An example would be seeing a rare Ferrari sports car at a stop light. You roll down your window to hear the roar of the Ferrari's V12 motor and you only hear put-put-put. Its actually a kit that is built on a VW bug chasis.

There is another common sense way to prove that these military weapons are not coming from sources in the US. Go to any gun show in the midwest and look at the prices of semi auto civilian legal AR15's (AR15 is a semi auto rifle designed to "look like" the military M16 but has been "neutered" for the civilian market) A civilian AR15 can be purchased for $1000 to $1500 US dollars. That rifle will require a precision machine shop for modifcation and hard to get military internal parts to make it into an M16, roughly several hundred more dollars. It will need to be smuggled south accross the border into Mexico. -OR-
Obtain a real M16 on the black market in El Salvador; $250 to $500. Pick up a case of handgrenades too and some full auto AK47s. Throw it in with drug shipments on its way north.
Drug Cratels are business men in an illegal trade. They look at profitabiliity. The business model of obtaining civilian legal guns in the US that look like their military cousins, extensively mosify them to be like the military models and smuggle them south IS A POOR BUSINESS MODEL when there are easy alternatives.
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-04-01 16:07
Well, J.H.:

"If you really look you will see that *he said almost nothing* and really just posted some documents and stories."

I believe you're forgetting his famous email defamation. You are aware of that, correct? So you're telling us that we're overly sensitive and nitpicking. But Mr. Yon said that we were unable to ..." invest only that minimal level of attention". Seems you and Mr. Yon disagree as to our level of attention.

"You are being unfair to Mr. Yon "

Mr. Yon is a writer who has fallen for the "Mexican Canard" which is the latest in a long line of nonsensical excuses for gun control in this country. I've read what he said. I've read his email where he whined about being misquoted - but failed to accurately quote himself. I was defamed when he said that I was a fanatic who was unsafe and would likely shoot someone or myself accidentally.

No, I don't think I'm being in any way un *fair* to Mr. Yon.

" Mr. Yon was pointing out a problem with Mexico and everyone here has got on their high horse about gun control thinking your being attacked by Mr. Yon."

Which we were. The problem with the arms in Mexico are not legally purchased weapons North of the border.
Unless you can - as Mr. Yon will not - point me to where I can buy LAW rockets, RPGs, crates of grenades, heavy .50 machine guns and ammo for all of the above - *legally in the US*.

"Then can you say that these weapons are not coming from America and be 100% sure."

I can be 100% certain that almost all the weaponry being used today - as detailed many times, including armored vehicles, squad automatics, full automatic rifles, grenades, RPGs, LAWs, and automatic grenade launchers are *not* being bought legally in the US and shipped south.

Which is what Yon is implying and buying into when he spreads the "Mexican Canard". Other people have pointed out the facts don't support a huge US -> Mexican supply. The statistics and common sense don't support that. The Mexican government is famously corrupt, and these are smugglers. That they're coming to American to buy a $1500 semi-automatic weapons when that same $1500 will get a *crate* of new full-auto rifles with some left over for ammunition.

Your examples didn't do anything to back Yon - every bit of that conduct was blatantly illegal under *current law*. So what do we need to *change*? That was what Yon said - you want to pass more laws to make it "more illegaler"? Won't work.

Mr. Yon: I've advised you to stop digging your hole. J.H., you're not doing him any favors by helping him dig. Unless of course you're conducting an "April Fools Joke". In which case, my apologies, you're doing fine.
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# Chris 2009-04-01 16:47
I don't think everyone realizes but... in California ARs and AKs are banned. 50 cals are also banned. CA is not a source for these weapons. Also, in CA, you can only buy one gun per month, there is a week+ waiting period, and they keep records of your identity. If CA is a source for these weapons as is stated by the DOJ then clearly a "ban" won't solve "the problem".

Also, can everyone stop saying "automatic weapons"? In the United States of America automatic weapons are banned for the ordinary citizen. Mexico is getting those off the black market, along with their new "weapon of choice": hand grenadtes.
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# Chris 2009-04-01 16:54
I don't think everyone realizes but... in California ARs and AKs are banned. 50 cals are also banned. CA is not a source for these weapons. Also, in CA, you can only buy one gun per month, there is a week+ waiting period, and they keep records of your identity. If CA is a source for these weapons as is stated by the DOJ then clearly a "ban" won't solve "the problem".

Also, can everyone stop saying "automatic weapons"? In the United States of America automatic weapons are banned for the ordinary citizen. Mexico is getting those off the black market, along with their new current "weapon of choice" (according to some reports): hand grenades.
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# Gilbert 2009-04-01 17:00
Unix-Jedi, wow I thought Jedi were supposed to be defenders of peace and justice in the Galaxy. Not prone to initiate strife and discord but known for their peaceful disposition. Boy George Lucas is going to very upset if he finds you here on Michael's site not trying to help engage in some rational, logical discussion about how to help with this very dangerous situation. Oh that's right you must be one of the Sith, you know giving into your hate, and passions.

No really on a serious note WTF. There is obviously a real problem. Instead of spending so much time trying to tear down and bash Michael on his own site why don't you try starting some intelligent dialogue about how to identify what the real problems are, and ways that America and American citizen's can help combat this issue.

Let's talk about issues like closing the boarder, arms flow from Central America, Political and military corruption. I think some of the comments on here are a little over simplified. It's funny to watch people one week praise Michael as being the best no BS reporter out there, and then the next week freak out and start trying to bury him. A lot of readers are very passionate about their Constitutional rights as well every American Citizen should be. What's funny is, after following Michael's work over the years I believe he is just as passionate as the rest of us.

The problem here is not what side of the fence you are on it is can you control your passions enough to carry on a sensible dialogue? Or as some of the readers are doing let your passions blind you and totally under mind any intelligent discussion.

Do I think that Michael is an Anti-gun guy? Nope. Do I think he is a Gun Fanatic? Nope. Do I think that Michael F'd up in his presentation? Yep. Do I think that he has an agenda? Nope. Do I think some of the people leaving comments have a personal agenda? Yep. Do I think we have a few "bullet Polishers" that have squeezed under the wire into the comment section? Yep.

Before Flaming me. Lets step back and re-approach the dispatch. It is obvious that it was written using a very wide paint brush. Bad Michael :-) So what!! there is a very important issue here that is not getting discussed because we are to damned busy trying to push Michael up into a corner. Well if you know SF guys that is going to get you about as far a dog with no legs.

I don't know what Michael thinks. I am also confused by the generic wording of his dispatch. But all the long term readers will relate that every once in a while Michael will throw something out to generate conversation or to strike a cord with people to discuss issues, and most of the time the readers really catch on and step up and have some very good dialogue.

Michael if you are reading this I am really surprised you haven't closed the ability to leave comments about the topic. Not because of people's negative comments, but because there is almost no intelligent dialogue going on here.

To the Jedi I think if you put half the effort into trying to have some intelligent conversation instead of trying to find fault with every jot and tittle, this would be a great topic to discuss. Your not being very Jedi--yy ( I guess that's a word)

No Flame please let's just start a good dialogue.

Gil
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# J.H. 2009-04-01 17:32
Jedi mind trick!

Love the way you just twist those words in there; ƒ?? illegalƒ? and ƒ??bought legallyƒ?

Your examples didn't do anything to back Yon - every bit of that conduct was blatantly illegal under *current law*.

And

*not* being bought legally in the US and shipped south.

Hey smuggling guns is illegal and there is a very good chance they will not buy them legally..... Your not addressing that there is a problem which Mr. Yon pointed out.....youƒ??r e just trying to twist the issue away from Mexico and protect your assault rifles at the same time.

However they get this stuff legally or illegally...... the need to stop it is what is important.

Yea my examples were all illegal......th at is what smuggling weapons are and all the drugs, gangƒ??s, shady gun dealers and anyone who thinks they can make a fast buck and not get caught.

All of those examples and much more out there all heading south. If it is 10 weapons here and 250 weapons there and 1 from over thereƒ??..guess what after just a little bit it ƒ??ADDSƒ? up to a lot.

Legally or illegally? What if it is legally then there is a problem in Mexico and we need to do something about it. However if it is illegally we should not help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans.

There is a war south of our border, what are "we" going to do?
Show me this and show me that. I would like to see where you could buy. Youƒ??re more worried about splitting hairs than the blood bath in Mexico looking to spill over the boarder.

You are playing on words legally and illegally and not dealing with the point of Mexico being a problem.

You are butt hurt over some statement that does not apply to 99.9% of the people, grown up and deal with the issues of guns and Mexico. Stop twisting words to make them fit your topic of assault weapons ban because you are personally butt hurt.

J.H.
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# Joel Rosenberg 2009-04-01 17:36
Well, I'm kinda late to the party, but I see that some friends have gotten here ahead of me.

Me, I don't know where the guns that are being used by the Mexican criminals are coming from. But, sheesh, if they're coming out of the US, they've all got serial numbers -- why haven't the Mexican authorities been publishing them? There's all these zillions of modern, full-auto weapons being used by Mexican gun runners, and they came from gun shows and gun stores in the US? Please.

Make no mistake: I think Yon's haring off after a myth, but he's an honest guy, and if he decides to report on it, he'll report honestly. I'd be very interested in what the Mexican authorities would say to a request for him to walk into a warehouse filled with these supposedly US-bought guns, and a camera and notebook, and take down as many serial numbers as he wants to.

And when they say, "No, senor; that cannot be arranged," I'd trust him to draw the appropriate conclusions.

So: don't trust us gun nuts with the facts; go out and report.
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-04-01 20:16
Gilbert:

Actually, the Jedi look for truth first, and base decisions on what the truth and facts are. We also have two main advantages: Lightsabers, mastery of The Force, and these cool uni.. oh, wait, amagalmation of skits there.

"To the Jedi I think if you put half the effort into trying to have some intelligent conversation instead of trying to find fault with every jot and tittle"

There's one party here who has claimed to have been "misquoted". This same party is a professional writer, and presumably is skilled at getting his point across. In these three dispatches, there have been many excellent comments, many facts, and yet the narrative stays the same from the writer, ignoring these.

I might also point out that Mr. Yon's email insisting that we "gun fanatics" were unable to "invest a minimal level of attention" runs counter to your accusation that I'm hyper-precise. I can't be both. Mr. Yon accuses me of one, you accuse me of the other.

"Do I think that Michael F'd up in his presentation? Yep.

You need to convince Mr. Yon of this. He's been blaming the "gun fanatics", and the "amorphous gun lobby". I might be a tad overweight, but I reject and resent being called a blob. Mr. Yon has personalized the debate, and refused to engage with facts, preferring personal attacks (as have been quoted here), insults, and innuendo. Mr. Yon has made unsupportable defamations against many of us. Would you care to point out where I have done so to Mr. Yon?

"There is obviously a real problem. Instead of spending so much time trying to tear down and bash Michael on his own site why don't you try starting some intelligent dialogue ..."

There is a real problem.

It's not founded in the gun stores of America. It's not related to the gun culture of America. If you want to have an intelligent dialogue, you cannot start by insulting gun owners, gun sellers, the entire gun culture, call them fanatics, and insist that they are illiterate. When the Mexican gangs are having shootouts with grenades, RPGs, heavy machine guns, and from one story I've heard, M-60 tanks, it's not a problem that putting restrictions on legitimate gun owners will alleviate.
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-04-01 20:18
J.H.:

"Love the way you just twist those words in there; ƒ?? illegalƒ? and ƒ??bought legallyƒ?""

Not really. There's a major difference there. Mr. Yon's initial dispatch insisted he wasn't giving up his guns, but "something had to be done". Unless he is admitting he owns illegal firearms, the only possible explanation is that he wants to pass more laws and more restrictions on the sale and possession of weaponry in the United States.

But the weaponry being used by the gangs is *already illegal under US law*. Citing cases where illegal weaponry was found doesn't back any case for more restrictions.

There's no mind trick by me here. But you and Mr. Yon are trying to have it both ways - claiming that he's not antigun, yet that he wants to pass laws on legitimate US citizens and their weaponry purchases and possessions.

"You are playing on words legally and illegally and not dealing with the point of Mexico being a problem. "

I'm using facts. You're using emotion and blind faith. They make for a poor policy template.

"You are butt hurt over some statement that does not apply to 99.9% of the people, grown up and deal with the issues of guns and Mexico. Stop twisting words to make them fit your topic of assault weapons ban because you are personally butt hurt."

Funny use of that word... I'd describe "butthurt" to describe Mr. Yon and his "defenders" (who, like you, admit that what he says isn't clear, at best) based on his email missive.

I'm certainly not butthurt in any way to find that Mr. Yon is easily swayed and confused. That he's perpetuating the "Mexican Canard". I'm disappointed, and I've laid out why, and I've laid out why he's wrong.

You seem to be the one "butthurt" about it.

"There is a war south of our border, what are "we" going to do?

Show me this and show me that. I would like to see where you could buy. Youƒ??re more worried about splitting hairs than the blood bath in Mexico looking to spill over the boarder."

Splitting hairs is important when you pontificate on legal changes and write laws. Waving your hands and screaming "look over there, you heartless SOB" isn't a factual or logical reason to change laws. Citing McCaffrey and his report of automatic weapons, squad autos, grenades, RPGs, LAWs and using that to insist on changes to the US legal landscape is illogical and blatantly idiotic on it's face.

We do have a war south of our border. We've been ignoring it for many years. That's a wholly separate issue than insisting "we must do something" about our guns - when it's not "our guns" that the cartels are buying and using. Facts. What are the facts. If it's not legally-allowed US guns causing the bloodshed, then there's no conceivable way that further restricting legal purchases will keep blood from being spilled.

I'm very concerned over the Southern Border I'm worried about the violence spilling over. But insisting that any commentary on the situation be factually based and not emotional and advocating policy decisions which don't affect the situation isn't butthurt.

Accusing someone of being unconcerned with the bloodshed, and nitpicking (but being right) is, however.

As I said on my site: When you're in a hole, stop digging. Mr. Yon doesn't appear to understand that, and his "friends" who are helping him dig furiously aren't really doing him any favors.
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# CTone 2009-04-01 22:06
Michael,

So what you're saying is that the overwhelming number of commentors here that are trying to give you factual information instead of the absurd statements of Gen McCaffrey are not trustworthy of giving you these facts because they're "gun fanatics?" Really? So I'm some sort of kook because I discredited the guy that you linked to because I'm familiar with firearms and firearm laws? That's not just absurd, it's offensive.

Facts are facts regardless of their sources. Considering that "gun fanatics" know a great deal of facts about guns, it would have been wise to actually listen to us instead of branding us as kooks.

I have been an avid reader of yours for some time now, but I have to tell you that you just lost a reader.
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# John Higgins 2009-04-01 22:37
J.H.,

That "show me where I can get 'em" thing that Unix-Jedi is doing? Yeah, it's kind of critical.

THE WEAPONS THEY'RE USING AREN'T SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES.

You can't buy AK-47s or M16s in the United States unless you're willing to jump through hoops, have a perfect record, get federal AND local permission and pay THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for the gun. And ALL of the ones you can buy were made before 1986. If we were shipping so many of them south, we'd have probably RUN OUT ALREADY.

Oh, also. You cannot buy RPGs or grenades ANYWHERE in the U.S. AT ALL, PERIOD.

If we're going to talk about how they're getting their weapons here, might want to make sure that, uh, the weapons they use are even SOLD here.
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# RAH 2009-04-01 23:35
I read your comment and read the DOJ statement. I note they base their conclsusion on sucessful traces. I would like to know the number of total weapons and how many have tracable numbers. Since the US is one of the few counties that have trace data, it is not surprising that sucessful traces were done.

If arms smuggling is coming from Central America then they may not have trace data available. I also wondere if there is a large amount of steal of US guns that get transported to Mexico.
Certainly the grenades and RPG that smugglers have do not come from the US.

As a gun rights supporter it seems insulting to be called fanatic because I question the data from the DOJ which may have an agenda.

Actually smuggling of arms has been around from before our founding of this country and is probably the most common product smuggled all over the world.
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# Jim Burke 2009-04-02 01:58
I shoot guns all the way from .22 to 300 Win Mag. so I guess I'm a gun fanatic according to you.
Just because Mexico is a 3rd world banana republic rife with corruption why do I have to give up my 2nd Amendment rights?
Mexico needs to get themselves straightened out before they start infringing on my rights.
Already they have 12 or 13 million illegals in this country mooching off our schools, health care, and welfare system.
The fully auto weapons and RPG's are coming from Central and South America. If you rely on the bumbling ATF to get your information you're in big trouble.

I'm beginning to wonder about you Mr. Yon. You're sounding like a liberal woosy!!
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# J.H. 2009-04-02 02:33
Most important C Tone have you just physically threatened Mr. Yon with telling him that you know a great deal about guns and it would have been wise for Mr. Yon to actually listen to you. Is that what you are saying? That is what it sounds like to me. Are you using the 2nd Amendment to threaten people who use the 1st Amendment?

You need to be very clear with what you say! I have alerted the web master to make note of your IP address and your comments.

Anyone that does not have a beer in their hand knows Mr. Yon is not calling 99.9% of the people out there kooks. Also having read the site over I did not see where he called anyone a kook, so it sounds like 100%. Did you see where Mr. Yon called anyone a kook? Please point it out. I do see where you might be a kook with a gun; in reading your comments I wonder what your intentions are towards Mr. Yon? Are you a kook and do you have a gun and are you threatening anyone?
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# Gilbert 2009-04-02 02:42
Michael, Webmaster, Someone, shut down the comments on this article before someone loses an eye.

Just when the Jedi and I were entering a dialogue which would have ended this gun trade issue for both the US and Mexico once and for all. And would have ushered in a new age of friendship and brotherly love between our two countries.

Just some humor
Boy it's hot in here,

Gil
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# Robert Sciolino 2009-04-02 03:32
With due respect to your amazing writing and heroic reporting from Iraq. Your turn to "Reuters" type "balanced" (i.e., removed from American culture) reporting seems to assume a mindset on the part of those of us who cherish ALL the bill of Rights, and in this case, the 2nd Amendment. So, with your assumptions in mind (private agenda's), the following is said with the assumed "Michael Yon" thoughts in parenthesis; Yes, those of us who live under the belief that the US Constitution is still viable and relevant, also happen to believe, as the a recent Supreme Court ruling confirms, that the 2nd Amendment applies to protections of the citizenry FROM the government (here we have a man who clings to his guns and probably religion...a definite person with an agenda), so Michael, given that the Constitution protects us from our government on every single one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, please explain to me how limiting our rights to keep and bear arms is an option with regard to stemming weapons going to Mexico? (Yes, this guy is not even worth considering as rational, so deep in his love of guns is he). Michael, here's a small clue for you...regardles s of where the acquire weapons, and with their narco-capital, they will get them regardless of how much our Constitution is ignored (man, this guy is wrapped up in his "founding father's rhetoric, how quaint), the real argument is why are our borders so porous? (here we go, the guns rights advocate changes the subject...anoth er symptom of the disease of wrapping thyself in the flag). Illegal Aliens crossing our border to purchase our legal weapons tells you exactly where the problem lies. The fact that you are so eager to prove yourself a member of the journalist community belies how much you have changed over the course of seven years (man this guy is adamant in his love of guns, I have to make note of just how passionate these 2nd amendment guys really are!).
Michael, you have deeply disappointed many of us and the fact that even after all the genuine and expressive comments regarding your "above-it-all" arrogant "journalistic" paradigm, you still blow off your former supporters as "agenda driven", lost-in-the-arg ument" minions, no better than those who would completely abolish our rights to bear arms....is absolutely tragic. God bless you Michael, your principals apparently are a casualty of war. What a waste. (wow, this guy really believes what he says, so much that he really gave it to me there...wow, I have to give it to these "2nd amendment guys" they have it all over the government side....must write about this next time....)
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# Robert Sciolino 2009-04-02 03:36
With due respect to your amazing writing and heroic reporting from Iraq. Your turn to "Reuters" type "balanced" (i.e., removed from American culture) reporting seems to assume a mindset on the part of those of us who cherish ALL the bill of Rights, and in this case, the 2nd Amendment. So, with your assumptions in mind (private agenda's), the following is said with the assumed "Michael Yon" thoughts in parenthesis; Yes, those of us who live under the belief that the US Constitution is still viable and relevant, also happen to believe, as the a recent Supreme Court ruling confirms, that the 2nd Amendment applies to protections of the citizenry FROM the government (here we have a man who clings to his guns and probably religion...a definite person with an agenda), so Michael, given that the Constitution protects us from our government on every single one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, please explain to me how limiting our rights to keep and bear arms is an option with regard to stemming weapons going to Mexico? (Yes, this guy is not even worth considering as rational, so deep in his love of guns is he). Michael, here's a small clue for you...regardles s of where the acquire weapons, and with their narco-capital, they will get them regardless of how much our Constitution is ignored (man, this guy is wrapped up in his "founding father's rhetoric, how quaint), the real argument is why are our borders so porous? (here we go, the guns rights advocate changes the subject...anoth er symptom of the disease of wrapping thyself in the flag). Illegal Aliens crossing our border to purchase our legal weapons tells you exactly where the problem lies. The fact that you are so eager to prove yourself a member of the journalist community belies how much you have changed over the course of seven years (man this guy is adamant in his love of guns, I have to make note of just how passionate these 2nd amendment guys really are!).
Michael, you have deeply disappointed many of us and the fact that even after all the genuine and expressive comments regarding your "above-it-all" arrogant "journalistic" paradigm, you still blow off your former supporters as "agenda driven", lost-in-the-arg ument" minions, no better than those who would completely abolish our rights to bear arms....is absolutely tragic. God bless you Michael, your principals apparently are a casualty of war. What a waste. (wow, this guy really believes what he says, so much that he really gave it to me there...wow, I have to give it to these "2nd amendment guys" they have it all over the government side....must write about this next time....)
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# CarryWise 2009-04-02 03:47
I think Michael, that you're falling for the fallacy that "what we want to do" will result in "what we want to see". And once again, not considering that there might be unintended consequences to reducing the flow of guns from the US.

I still laugh that the Brady campaign was so pleased with passing the magazine capacity limits in 1994, and 5 years later complained about "pocket rockets"! The Brady Campaign invented the high caliber compact pistol by legislating the magazine capacity limits! The result was obvious to anyone who had ever been through an Intro to Econ course.

So, what do we know? We know that there are both semi-automatic guns in Mexico that were bought in the US, and full auto weapons, grenades, and RPGs that must have come from elsewhere. There's been a lot of argument about the relative numbers, so let's ignore that for a minute.

Assuming that you could completely eliminate the supply of semi-autos from the US, what do you imagine will happen? Obviously, there's a supply of automatic weapons coming from somewhere, likely South America. Assuming that the drug cartels aren't going to decide that business has just gotten too difficult, WHAT WILL THEY DO?

Seriously, does it require an MBA to recognize that the demand (and supply) for weapons from those non-US sources will increase? And given that automatic weapons and heavier weapons are much more accessible in the third world than in the US, that after a short constriction on the illegal Mexican arms market, the cartels will likely end up being better armed? Will that result in the fewer deaths that we would all like to see?
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# Don Gwinn 2009-04-02 03:55
You accepted a statistic with no sourcing and no evidence, repeated it uncritically as if it were a fact, and got caught short--and your conclusion is that "the government" and "the gun fanatics" are equally untrustworthy and neither can be trusted with the facts?

Really?

Was it a "gun fanatic" who told you (and everyone else) over and over and over and over that "it's a proven fact that 90% of Mexican cartel firearms come from unregulated American gun shows and gun shops along the border"? How do the "gun fanatics" manage to take the blame for the other side?

Why not just admit it--you took a meme at face value and it turned out to be questionable at best. It happens to everyone. We all tend to assume that "the news" is right about things outside our area of expertise, even when we think we know better.
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# senorlechero 2009-04-02 04:34
California has some of the most strict gun laws in the nation. Nobody can buy a gun at a gunshow without a background check and a 10 day wait. What does that mean in relation to this post? If guns are going from CA to Mexico they are illegal guns to begin with, since every gun sold in CA is registered.

This post fails the sniff test.
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# J.H. 2009-04-02 05:48
Illegal or legal the flow of weapons to Mexico needs to be slowed really needs to be stop.

I think the main story was to help bring discussion on how to stop the flow of weapons not the '"only" way to fix the problem it to take away the current gun laws on the books.

How best to do that? Any ideas that would help under funded agency enforce the laws that are on the books already?

Any ideas about how to fix this problem before more people are killed on both sides of the fence?

Ideas that would help improve Mexico's problem and at the same time help keep the current gun laws in tact?

Anyway to change or improve the gun stores paperwork system that might help?

Maybe cross training local people to help spot check more gun stores to ensure their paperwork is correct?

Limit the amount and type of ammo within so many miles of Mexico.... I really don't like that idea but just trying to get some thinking about the issue of stopping the flow of guns.


Felon Caught with 900 Weapons in California
Another crazy weapons stash found in the home of a convicted felon. This one might be bigger than any we've ever seen so far...

Nearly 900 assault rifles and handguns and a cache of silencers were seized from a convicted felon's Upland home following a two-month investigation, state and federal law authorities said Tuesday.

The seizure followed a raid last Friday at the Upland home of Robert Ferro, 61, a convicted felon and former gun dealer, said Will Telish, special agent in charge with the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force, or L.A. Impact.

It is the largest weapons seizure in the history of the agency and one of the largest seizures in Southern California in recent years, Telish said.

"Two-hundred assault rifles, 200 machine guns, hundreds of handguns and 200 silencers were seized," Telish said.

Among the fully automatic guns were .50-caliber weapons mounted on tripods. Some explosives also were seized, he said.

http://www.gunguys.com/?p=969

J.H.
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# Brendan 2009-04-02 07:24
"California has some of the most strict gun laws in the nation. Nobody can buy a gun at a gunshow without a background check and a 10 day wait. What does that mean in relation to this post? If guns are going from CA to Mexico they are illegal guns to begin with, since every gun sold in CA is registered.

This post fails the sniff test."

I am not sure about the "Gun Show loophole" in California being open or not. Probably has been closed here. Not all firearms are registered, in fact only handguns are registered and logged in a state database. All long guns are not registered, unless they were classified as an "assault weapon" and registered by their owners prior to 2002 or so. The DROS information for firearms is kept by law at the FFL dealer's shop, and can be accessed by the authorities with proper warrant, though.

I am pro 2nd amendment, but it would be foolish to not consider that firearms from our country might be flowing to a conflict zone. We should try to be a good neighbor, for our part, and do what we can to prevent that from happening, just so long as doing so doesn't trample on the rights of the law abiding in the process.

Better border security seems like a start. Stimulous money for more border control jobs?
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# FatWhiteMan 2009-04-02 10:45
I can't believe you are still parroting this leftist garbage. I would have thought you would have learned your lesson about quoting democratic agenda driven twits like McCaffrey. I'm done with this blog--it reads just like the Huffington Post anymore.
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# J Richardson 2009-04-02 11:38
Dear Michael,


Frankly, you haven't been very respectful of us readers. You have treated us like Army Public Information officers who you suspect of spinning the truth.

With regard to weapons going from the US to Mexico, I do believe a few trickle across the border. However, I don't believe that they are full-auto or select-fire battle rifles. And yes, I do believe that when BATFE has run traces on the serial numbers provided by Mexico, they do find that 90% come from the USA. Again, these are only those serial numbers provided by Mexico and there are many more weapons being smuggled into Mexico.

Of the weapons in Mexico in the hands of the drug cartel, I do believe many are American-made. I believe that they were made by Colt or FNH in its plant in Columbia, South Carolina. However, they arrived legally in a state-to-state approved sale from the US to the Mexican Army. Where they went after that is something Mexico must answer because they were under their control.

I am a fanatic - a fanatic for the truth. That is why I have supported your reporting with contributions as well as the purchase of your book. I think it is high time for you to apply the skills you honed in Iraq and Afghanistan to Mexico and its situation. I think it is time to examine the role of regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua in providing weapons to the drug cartels.

Sincerely yours,

John Richardson
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# Steve Lord 2009-04-02 13:45
Some illegal weapons are getting into Mexico from the US. But the big weasel in this document is "90 percent of the weapons that could be traced were determined to have originated from various sources within the U.S". But what percentage of weapons could be traced, or were even attempted to be traced? Considering the scale of violence being reported, I suspect that the roughly 1500 weapons mentioned are a very small chunk of the whole.

The concern many of us have is that out of control drug violence in Mexico will be - and is being - latched on to as an excuse to disarm American citizens.
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# Lori 2009-04-02 14:35
...and damn proud of it. My constitution gives me the right to carry a gun. You know, the constitution that our soldiers die for?? Yes...that one! And because I want to exercise my right to keep my gun, I am now a fanatic? Because I don't agree with laws that restrict my right to own a gun, I am a gun fanatic? And by the way...recent "reports" from BHO appointed action groups also identify me as a militia risk because I want to keep my gun, because I am a prolife supporter and because I am a Christian. You know...I'm one of those who cling to my guns and my religion.

And while I shouldn't have to point this out, I will. Those who come to this country illegally, for any reason, whether it is to purchase guns, traffic guns, purchase & traffic drugs, take jobs from law abiding AMERICAN citizens, the laws of our country do not apply to the ILLEGALS. Do not take our weapons because our government can not get this under control. For many years the citizens of America that live along the border with Mexico have been begging for assistance to keep the illegals off of their land. They have warned that there were major issues with the Mexicans coming across the border. No one listened until it became a political debate issue. And yes Michael, they had the scoop on this story before you did. The only way this issue will be taken care of is when we ship back the illegals and if they want to come into our country and become an AMERICAN citizen then by golly they should go through the same channels that our ancestors did. Stop import and export of goods until the Mexican government can get their drug/gang war under control.

Michael, while I respect the work you do in Iraq & Afghanistan you are obviously out of touch with what is going on in this country. Our new president wants to push more government into the lives of the citizens of this country. He is taking over private enterprise, he is controlling the census (think voting issues), he is supporting a MANDATORY volunteer corps for our children (oxymoron, isn't it? what happened to freedom of CHOICE?), he is appointing admin that can't pay their taxes, he is appointing people who support Shariah Law (ask an Afghan woman about how wonderful that law is) and he rewards those who screw up with money, money, money. Whether it be a bank exec who accepts bail-out money and then remodels his office with a $30,000 toilet or the idiot who makes a salary of $25,000 per year and decides to buy a house that he can't afford.

And now you call me a gun fanatic because I am pissed that he is even considering taking away my second amendment right. Kiss my gun fanatic ass Michael Yon. Believe it or not, we have bigger issues than Mexico going on in this country and Mexico needs to clean up their own trash. Do you really think that a document from the DOJ has enough "facts" to base your story on? Eric Holder, one of the aforementioned tax cheats is the AG, Elana Kagan is the Solicitor General...you know...the same Elana Kagan who fought like a Michael Vick fight dog to keep OUR ROTC from being allowed on the campuses of our universities. Yeah, were going to trust anything that comes from that office.

BLAH BLAH BLAH...that is all I hear anymore when I read your articles.
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# Cecil Trotter 2009-04-02 15:09
Excerpt from "The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S."

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2009/04/02/myth-percent-guns-mexico-fraction-number-claimed/

There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

It's just not true.

In fact, it's not even close. By all accounts, it's probably around 17 percent.

What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

"Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market," Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

A Look at the Numbers

In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

So, if not from the U.S., where do they come from? There are a variety of sources:

-- The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

-- Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

-- Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

-- The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

-- Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America's cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatema lan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.
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# Trail of Tears 2009-04-02 15:12
And while I shouldn't have to point this out, I will. Those who come to this country illegally, for any reason, whether it is to steal, lie, cheat or kill for land, from NATIVE AMERICANS, the laws of our Nation do not apply to the ILLEGALS. Do not take our bows and arrows because our Nation/tribe can not get this under control.
The only way this issue will be taken care of is when we ship back the illegals to Europe and if they want to come into our Nation/tribe and become an NATIVE AMERICAN citizen then by golly they should go through the same channels that our ancestors did.
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# Curtis Riley 2009-04-02 15:33
I think you should take a look at the article, "Misfire" on the Fox News website this morning. It does a credible job is presenting some facts concerning where the guns in Mexico are coming from. It has been obvious to many of the people who have contributed comments to this website that it just doesn't make sense that 90% of the guns used in Mexican crimes come across the border with the U.S. This propaganda effort to blame the U.S. for Mexico's gun problem is akin to the propaganda from the left that we had lost the war in Iraq. I would hope that you would spend some time investigating the issue and then report the truth as you see it.
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# Lori 2009-04-02 16:49
Good point considering I am a full blooded Cherokee Indian.... Oh si yo
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# zorlak 2009-04-02 17:15
"The only way this issue will be taken care of is when we ship back the illegals to Europe and if they want to come into our Nation/tribe and become an NATIVE AMERICAN citizen then by golly they should go through the same channels that our ancestors did."

?¨You mean go invade the land and kill all the natives?
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# Karen Williams 2009-04-03 06:33
When I first signed up to this blog I was an Air America liberal and i thought it would be absolutely silly to avoid those who have different opinions, then the dem's took over the house and basically did what politicians do best, make excuses, the war isnt over and the liberals didnt take them to task so i dropped them, by the way, I still have no love for the republicans, outside of that one guy who ran for president, said the economy would fall apart if we didnt fix it, and hmmm.. he was right. And as for the current president- i didnt spend 8 years seeing through bush's crap just so i could be a sheep, no thanks. some guy made a movie 0bama deception, the left vs right stuff is stupid, all our rights are getting ninjad and it sucks, by the time kids grow up, america is over :sad:

Im still terrified of guns, but ill be danged if some other country gets us to give up one of our rights because they cant get their people in order? WTF? If the Mexican citizens had as much heat in their pockets as they sometimes have in their food [spicy good :-) ] then they might not be in such bad shape.

yeah this country was STOLEN some of my ancestors were Indians, the rest were slaves, and even though im a big city chick who could aim at the sky and miss, i want my piece, if they come in nice colors all the better. I dont have a gun but im a gun nut i guess.
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# Chris 2009-04-03 10:12
Came across this post from a link at LGF. I think I can at least partially answer the ƒ??But From Where?ƒ? clause of the topic.

A few months ago, I saw pictures of weapons seized in Mexico from a cache thought to belong to one of the warring drug cartel groups.

There were a large number of Kalashnikov rifles displayed. Every one of these rifles had a bare metal, unpainted receiver.

Somebody, probably in Mexico, is buying decommissioned (i.e., torch cut receiver) AK ƒ??parts kitsƒ? that are imported to the U.S. from countries like Romania, Yugoslavia and Poland and remanufacturing them into semi or even full-auto AK-47ƒ??s. All you need is pre-stamped receiver flats, a 12-ton press, the correct jigs, riveting and a few other specialized tools.

The persons who are doing this are undoubtedly making a LOT of money at it and have layers upon layers of anonymity in the delivery channels.

In the U.S., anybody not prohibited from owning a firearm can build a semi-auto, BATFE approved rifle from a parts kit (with a few exceptions). That is why AK parts kits are legal in this country (or used to be ƒ?? the BATFE recently banned the importation of barrel assemblies in part kits).

My take is, somebody bought up a few thousand of these part kits when they were available and shipped them across the border (which may technically be legal, since, without receivers, they are considered a ƒ??non-firearmƒ ?). Now, in the back of a machine shop somewhere in Mexico, somebody is busily stamping and riveting and making a crap load of money supplying drug cartels with functioning AKƒ??s.

Just my $0.02 (BTW, Iƒ??m a member of the NRA, GOA, TSRA and GCA, as well as licensed CHL)
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# looking closely 2009-04-03 20:35
"90 percent of the weapons that could be traced were determined to have originated from various sources within the U.S"


This is simply transparent spin.

All it means is that most of the guns that Mexican authorities think MIGHT have originated in the USA (and were therefore submitted for tracing) were actually traceable. So what?

Does anyone really think that guns smuggled in from the Middle East or Central America are traceable?

The intellectually HONEST statistic would be to say what percentage of seized guns OVERALL could be traced to LEGAL American sales. That number turns out to be small, under 20%.

Why would criminals want to illegally import expensive, traceable, and restricted to semi-automatic American guns into Mexico when they could get untraceable true military grade weapons cheaper elsewhere?
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# masaryk 2009-04-06 21:38
As usual, you dare call yourself a journalist, when you are far too balanced, skeptical, and honest to be one. Keep up the good work!
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