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Cryo Chamber

The Shrinking ‘Vast Majority’

ATF yesterday released a report on firearms submitted by the government of Mexico for tracing since 2007. One screaming headline referred to the “Vast Majority of Mexican Crime Guns Originate in U.S. New ATF Trace Data Reveals.”  If you have been following the issue of Mexican gun traces on this blog, prescription you will realize the truth is a rapidly shrinking “Vast Majority” and the so-called “flood” of guns going into Mexico moves at glacier-like speed.

The mainstream media has consistently falsely claimed that 90 percent of all firearms recovered in Mexico come from the United States. The “90 percent myth” stems from a misstatement by then-ATF Deputy Director Billy Hoover during congressional testimony in 2009. The myth spread like wildfire and the smoke from that firestorm still obscures the facts. We have put the lie to the 90 percent myth in past blog posts.  A report by the independent research group STRATFOR has shown that it is erroneous and grossly misleading to say the majority of firearms recovered in Mexico came from the United States.  In fact, only 12 percent of the firearms misused in Mexico were originally sold at retail in the United States.

In 2009, a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that only about 80 percent of firearms recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing were originally sold at retail in the United States, not the 90 percent the media keeps reporting.

But it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that many of the firearms recovered and traced come from the United States. That is because U.S. law requires markings on firearms precisely so they can be traced by law enforcement through commerce.  It is sort of like tracing the VIN number on cars on a Ford dealership lot and be surprised to learn that most are Fords. What the 90 percent myth does not account for, and the media turns a blind eye to, and what yesterday’s ATF report does not shed light on, is the fact that you know nothing about the firearms recovered in Mexico but were never traced — like the firearms that the 150,000 or so Mexican soldiers took with them when they defected to go work for the drug cartels over the past several years.

Logically, Mexican officials wouldn’t bother to trace the U.S.-made firearms they know belonged to the Mexican government or law enforcement, the results of which would be highly embarrassing to Mexican officials. Nor does yesterday’s report account for guns that have been smuggled into Mexico from South and Central America.-[source]

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