On American Weapons in Mexico, Fox News Disputes "90%" Claim
April 03, 2009, 02:02 PM
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The Mexican government, as I've reported before, complains about guns being smuggled from the U.S. to drug cartels in Mexico and even criticizes our gun rights as "absurd". As Mexico's Attorney General put it in 2007: "American law seems absurd to me, because ….the citizens can easily acquire arms. American society lives the consequences of this on a daily basis..."

Lately it's been confidently asserted that 90% of weapons utilized for crime in Mexico were smuggled in from the U.S. Among others, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated this claim.

A new article on Fox News, however, disputes that claim: The Myth of 90%: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come from U.S., William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott, FOXNews.com, April 2nd, 2009

Here a few excerpts from this highly-recommended article:

You've heard this shocking "fact" before — on TV and radio, in newspapers, on the Internet and from the highest politicians in the land: 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States...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. The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

Where then did the 90% figure originate?

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.

The article reports that "Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar" with assorted weaponry floating in from South Korea, China, Spain, Israel, Russia and the former Soviet bloc, Central and South America. Some are from Mexico itself, provided by former Mexican soldiers who deserted and joined the cartels.

Of course, the 90% claim can be a useful ruse for U.S. politicians who want to restrict gun rights stateside. What 's really laughable is that the American right to bear arms has been contrasted unfavorably with Mexico's strict gun laws. But the high volume of weaponry entering Mexico from so many other countries really shows the failure of Mexican gun laws.

Besides, even if the U.S. restricted the right of its citizens to bear arms, how would that help the situation in Mexico? Are we to suppose that if the U.S. tightened up its own gun laws, then Mexican narcos would suddenly have a change of heart and start obeying Mexican gun laws. How ridiculous is that?