Mexican firepower

Late last week President Obama repeated the canard that 90% of the guns used in Mexican drug violence come from “various sources” in the United States. No less a liberal standard then the Los Angeles Times has debunked this.

Though the precise numbers are the subject of some uncertainty, the most generous reasonable interpretation is that 34% of the guns seized may be of American origin.

The 90% figure comes from the guns sent to the BATF for tracing after Mexican authorities have determined they are likely to have come from the US. The question ought to be, “Why isn’t that 99%?”

In any case, no one seems to be wondering what the makeup of this armament is. There are two significant questions. 1- Are full automatic weapons and armaments such as grenades, both illegal for civilian sale in the US already, a significant portion of the arms seized and subsequently identified as US in origin? 2- What, if any, proportion of these weapons are stolen from, sold by or otherwise traceable to Mexican law enforcement or military agencies who legally imported them as part of US aid to combat illegal drugs?

I have asked the BATF for a breakdown in a letter mailed today.

April 20th, 2009

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Office of Public and Governmental Affairs
99 New York Ave. NE
Mail Stop 5S144
Washington, DC 20226

To whom it may concern,

I am writing regarding the issue of firearms entering Mexico from the United States.

I understand that 90% of the firearms seized by Mexican authorities in 2007 and 2008, and which are then also submitted to ATF for tracing, have been traced to “various sources” in the United States.

Can you please tell me what those various sources are and what number of firearms are in each “various source” category?

I realize some of these numbers may be imprecise, but I am particularly interested in those which should be very clear. Have any of these weapons been traced to aid provided to Mexico by the United States through official channels? That is, which, if any, of these firearms were legally imported by Mexico from United States law enforcement or military sources, or any other government departments or programs?

I assume that transfers from any programs officially sanctioned by the United States will have been precisely documented.

In addition, can you provide an overall breakdown by type of weapon, sanctioned or not? A breakdown by handguns vs long guns and the number of semi-automatic, automatic and any other types ATF may classify would be extremely helpful.

Thank you in advance,

I’ll keep you posted.