USA –-(Ammoland.com)- “New ATF Data Proves Overwhelming Majority of Guns Recovered in Mexico Come from U.S.,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., claimed yesterday in a press release. “Between 2007-2011, 68.5 percent of recovered weapons were of U.S. origin; more must be done to stop firearms trafficking to Mexico,” she declared.
The senator is referring to data disclosed in yesterday’s “roundtable” hosted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), held with credentialed members of the media “to discuss firearms trace data from the Government of Mexico.” This column predicted yesterday that “What we will no doubt hear the loudest after the fact will be…that the biggest problem Mexico faces in re arming cartels is the private ownership of guns in the U.S.,” and Feinstein’s release exceeds expectations, especially since reading down deeper into the text is the buried admission that the percentage represents firearms “recovered in Mexico and submitted to ATF for tracing.”
That’s a critically important distinction, and one that’s been intentionally obscured by committed citizen disarmament proponents who value control over freedom, and who first represented the total numbers as “95 to 100 percent,” and who then, refusing to cede to the truth, have been nonetheless pushed back by it to renew their stand at the 90 percent, 80 percent and 70 percent levels…
“This data makes it very clear that we need to increase our efforts to starve the supply of American weapons that arm Mexico’s brutal drug trafficking organizations,” Feinstein concludes, meaning she intends to do all she can to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. But the thing is, the data doesn’t make that clear at all, and in fact, cautions against jumping to hysterical conclusions.
“Not all firearms used in crimes are traced and not all firearms traced are used in crime,” ATF reminds us in a disclaimer statement in their report. “[S]ources reported for firearms traced do not necessarily represent the sources or methods by which all firearms in general are used in crime.”
Curiously absent from the report posted on ATF’s website are time-to-crime numbers, generally presented in tracing summaries ATF provides in its domestic reports. Knowing when a recovered weapon was initially sold and when it was recovered are factors anti-gunners use to gin up “something must be done!” hysteria.
And there’s one other major qualifier. Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich attended yesterday’s “roundtable” and reminds her readers “The majority of the sales linked back to the U.S. according to this trace data, actually come from government to government sales, not from normal sales made in American gun shops.”
That’s a subject Gun Rights Examiner has explored before, and one that, along with foreign ordnance-running and rampant corruption among Mexican police and military, accounts for the military-grade weaponry deployed by the cartels, as opposed to what Feinstein and her ilk are desperate to ban.
Importantly, Pavlich also writes that while ATF “wouldn’t openly admit” firearms related to the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation were included in the totals, they did concede “any gun submitted for tracing in Mexico and traced back to the U.S. is counted.”
In yesterday’s column, I talked about some questions I wanted to see asked. Advisers were curious if any of the numbers reflected multiple traces on the same guns, which could have had a major effect on data accuracy (or raised the question of how guns previously taken into custody ended up in a situation where they were being traced again). The ATF report states up front that it is “excluding duplicates.”
Just because they exclude them in a report does not automatically invalidate the questions.
About David Codrea
David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at www.DavidCodrea.com.