Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Record Year!

Speaking of loading up on guns...the burgeoning weaponry-exportation sector continues to be the one bright spot in an otherwise bleak American economy.

In 2008, a year when more than 7,000 Mexicans were killed in drug violence, a record number of weapons confiscated in Mexico were traced to U.S. retailers, the largest percentage of them in Texas, according to the latest available government data obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.

The number of traced firearms — 12,073 — is more than double the previous two years combined, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported.

We're under no illusions that this will stop the NRA/Fox News from peddling their dubious "17 percent" nonsense - and indeed, the ATF report doesn't specifically address it - but,

ATF officials, including Webb, acknowledge that the 90 percent figure represents only weapons that were traced. But he said the number — judging by his own 33 years' experience and ATF agent visits inside Mexican vaults holding seized guns — tells him that a majority of the untraced weapons are from the U.S. Webb said he produced a 1991 report on Mexican crime guns that, after tracing those listed in Mexican record books, found that a large majority even then were from the U.S.

“You're not going to have containers of guns coming from a lot of other countries,” Webb said. “Right now, the U.S. is the easiest place and cheapest place for them to buy their guns, and because that's the case, we're their number one source.”

One reason more is not known about the untraced guns is that the Mexican military, which demands custody over all confiscated weapons, has, for reasons of sovereignty, largely refused the ATF access to gun vaults and is not trained enough to identify and pass along the four or five identifiers on each gun required for a successful trace. To compensate, last year the ATF gave Mexico its E-Trace database system and some training to conduct tracings on its own.

It's funny how certain political interests, who generally believe (not entirely without reason) that Mexico can do nothing right, are willing to assume that when it comes to crime scene investigations, Mexico is brilliant enough to have pinpointed every single US-purchased gun in the past five years. In fact, CSI: Mexico City would look a lot like a Keystone Cops film - except, being set in Mexico, there'd be nothing silent about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey!!! They just had a 5.7 Richter earthquake. In almost any other region, including California, Italia, Greece, Turkey, China, it would have caused dozens or hundreds of deaths. In Mexico they just stopped their activities for a little while and 5 minutes later they got back to their houses or offices.