Skip to comments.Report Shatters Myth of Mexico’s Gun Supply
Posted on 02/14/2011 10:57:04 PM PST by epow
A new report calls The 90 Percent Myth, which refers to the number of illegal guns in Mexico coming from the United States, more political rhetoric than empirical fact.
We couldnt agree more. NSSF has been trying to stamp out The 90 Percent Myth ever since ATF misstated the number in testimony at a congressional hearing in 2009. A prompt clarification issued by ATF couldnt put the proverbial genie back in the bottle. Unfortunately, The 90 Percent Myth has been widely promoted by Mexican officials and wrongly cited in U.S. news stories, although a Fox News study of the 90% statistic noted that numbers just plain wrong.
In a report issued last week, the independent research group STRATFOR has corroborated what NSSF has been saying for some time about firearms recovered from drug cartels in Mexico: that it is erroneous and grossly misleading to say that 90 percent (a rounded up number) of the firearms recovered in Mexico came from the United States.
The truth is that less than 12 percent of the guns Mexico seized in 2008 have been verified as coming from the United States. The proof can be found in the U.S. government statistics that the STRATFOR report explains below and that the pie chart clearly illustrates:
According to a June 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.
This means that the 87 percent figure relates
(Excerpt) Read more at nssfblog.com ...
Thanks, good post.
This is an extremely old story, I must have seen this in one form or another a dozen times, maybe it is a reprint because it was just so great, don’t know.
Is there any report, statistic, domestic or foreign policy from this flipp’n government that’s worth a damn?
Regardless of whether the real number is 12% or 90%, what difference does it make? When Mexicans can control their own border to keep hundreds of thousands from illegally coming into the U.S. each year, then we can worry about something needs to be done about controlling the cross-border flow of guns.
I have been following this story....If true, the puts the white house directly in the crosshairs of a cover up that makes watergate look like a picnic....a cover up involving the murder of a federal agent...napoletano knows of it, she was down there a couple days after the murder....chief of staff has told senator grassley and the mexican government to “F&%^ Off”......what does fubo know, and when did he know it????
“Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.”
I hate to be a party-pooper, but 87% is not an unreasonable inference. Consider the following. 30,000 people voted in an election. Information pertaining to 7,200 was submitted to the U.S. Elections Commission. So long as this was a random sample, without any obvious selection bias that would have made it more likely for 65-year olds to be in that sub-group than others, there is no problem.
Of the 7,200, information on age could only be obtained for 4,000. Again, unless age information was more likely to be available for one age category compared to another, this shrinkage of the sample is no problem. Of the 4,000, 3,840 were found to be below age 65, i.e., 87%. Given a choice between believing only 12% of voters are under age 65 and 87%, which do YOU think is the more reasonable statistic, i.e., the one closest to the true fraction?
Sure, we only “know” 3,840 are below age 65. But likewise we only “know” the age of 4,000 in the entire group of 30,000. Comparing the “known” number of non-elderly to the entire group and acting as if this 12% is in any way an informative figure is a good way of convincing the Left that we don’t even know high school math. Not a winning argument IMHO.
Or to phrase it more accurately, the gun PROHIBITION issue. Make no mistake, Big Bro doesn't want to merely control guns, he wants to ban gun possession altogether by ordinary Americans. I didn't make a lot of money selling guns, ammunition, and accessories, but at least I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Namely, if Big Bro can't get you to do what he wants by threats and intimidation he'll take his gloves off and smack you in the mouth until you do.
For instance, how do we mere citizens know how many guns were actually submitted for tracing, or what criteria the Mexicans used to choose what guns were to be traced? One thing we can and do know is that it's much cheaper and less risky for criminal gangs in countries with corrupt law enforcement and other government officials to obtain weapons on the flourishing worldwide black market than it is to get them from the very few US FFL dealers who are willing to risk prosecution by federal law enforcement. If convicted, federally licensed gun dealers face mandatory lengthy (10 year) incarceration without possibility of parole if convicted of violating a federal firearms law, and that's not a walk in the park when it only nets a grand or two.
The main problem with the BATFE figures that I found is that the global black market is flooded with surplus military firearms and other weapons that have been phased out of the military services of scores of nations, Russia for just one, over the past 2 or 3 decades. Many, probably most, of those surplus weapons are now being traded on the black market, based primarily in Africa and to a lesser extent in the far east. If a Mexican gangster can buy functional full auto (aka machine gun) AK47s from black market dealers based in Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia, you name it, for $75 - $100 delivered to the Guatemalan border, and he can, why would he pay 4 or 5 times that price for identical AKs smuggled over the US border? A licensed US gun dealer would actually pay twice or more at dealer cost for a legally imported surplus AK than the gangster would pay for an illegal AK. More important than price, the only AK the US dealer can obtain legally will have been modified to eliminate it's full-auto fire capability, which is the feature most desired by the gangs.
One thing that indicates to me that the reported data is likely to be intentionally flawed is that according to everything I have read or heard, most of the Mexican gang's weapons are capable of full auto fire. Under the 1935 National Firearms Act, no one in the US except a dealer specifically licensed to trade in full auto guns or an individual licensed to own that type gun can legally possess or trade in full auto firearms, as well as sawed off shotguns and rifles and a few other strictly regulated weapons. Those licenses are difficult and expensive to get and are only granted after a thorough, usually 6 month or more, investigation by BATFE, and consequently very few dealers or private individuals have them. Another federal law enacted in 1986 totally bans possession of full auto weapons of any variety made or imported after 1986. As a result, the going price of the relatively small number of legally licensed full auto firearms has skyrocketed into the stratosphere. $10-$15 grand is the current minimum for a licensed and legal full auto weapon, and even then it will most likely be an obsolete model probably dating to the 1920s - 1930s era. Considering the cost and risk of smuggling modern illegal full auto guns into the US and then transferring them to Mexican gangs when the same guns are available to the gangs at much lower cost from 3rd world illegal arms dealers, it seems highly unlikely to me that the gangsters would even bother to deal with a US smuggler.
Can any reasonably well informed American doubt that Obama is now just waiting for the right time, probably after the 2012 election, to begin in earnest pushing his extremist anti-gun agenda on the American people? Just look at his record in IL and Chicago on that issue if you want to see how severely restrictive he wants our national gun laws to be. I'm not saying that the alleged gun trafficking along the Mexican border by US gun dealers isn't happening to some extent, but I definitely tend to doubt the figures coming out of the anti-gun BATFE, especially now that it's owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Marxist-lite Obama oligarchy.
“One thing that indicates to me that the reported data is likely to be intentionally flawed is that according to everything I have read or heard, most of the Mexican gang’s weapons are capable of full auto fire.”
This is far more persuasive evidence that the numbers may be cooked than claiming only 12% had been “proven” to come from the U.S. I was NOT arguing that the numbers might not be skewed. I was objecting to the manner in which people were trying to make this case.
We’ve seen too often how the left will use ridicule to call into question the entire legitimacy of raising questions about Issue X (e.g., “birthers” are viewed by many as presumptively loony not because the disinterested public has taken the time to even-handedly sort out the competing claims, but because some have resorted to tactics—posting fake Kenyan BCs on the Web—that make the whole “movement” look suspect). If there’s good reason to believe the 90% figure is incorrect, let’s make that case with the best possible evidence rather than the weakest arguments.
Is it time to play hungry hungry hippos?
Well I can't argue with that, it certainly makes sense to use one's best argument in a situation like this one where almost anything can be alleged from either side without proof that it's true. All that I have on which to to base my suspicions in this instance is my unpleasant experience in the past with the old ATF (now BAFTE) personnel during the Clinton Administration era. Not long after Clinton took office he apparently ordered the agency to put as many licensed firearms dealers out of business as possible by whatever means were necessary, whether or not those means were strictly in accord with the firearms laws in effect at that time.
My small, part time business as it was organized at the time came under the authority of the ATF. After being summoned to the district office for no apparent reason except to intimidate me and being generally harassed and threatened by field agents, the situation came to a head and I was given an off the record warning that unless I surrendered my FFL and closed up shop I would be prosecuted for illegal firearms transactions that we both knew never took place. At that point I realized that even though I had not broken any federal law I couldn't successfully fight a corrupt government agency and it's bottomless pit of funds, so I threw in the towel and called it quits.
That was no great loss since my profit margin was thin to say the least, and I was motivated to find a more profitable and less closely controlled line of business. But the overall experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth whenever I am reminded of what I believe is, or at least was, a rogue agency willing to operate outside, or on the very thinnest edge, of the law if necessary to carry out what may or may not be an otherwise legitimate mission.
You’re assuming that Mexican authorities would send a random sample of seized guns to the U.S. ATF for analysis, rather than just those guns that they could not already identify as having come from the Mexican military or from other countries outside of the U.S. The Mexican government sent a huge percentage of seized weapons to the U.S. for analysis (24%!), so this wasn’t some small, representative sample sent to test a theory; it sent those particular guns because they couldn’t figure out where they came from. Could the 76% of seized guns not sent to the U.S. ATF for analysis have included guns that came from the U.S.? Perhaps, of the Mexican authorities were 100% sure they had come from the U.S. and didn’t need corroboration, but I would bet that if the gun had some possibility of being from the U.S. the Mexican authorities sent it to the ATF in order to achieve the misleading headline that it eventually got.
I don’t care if 100% came from us. Our RKBA, as affirmed by the constitution, was not contingent on some future crime problem in Mexico or the USA.
I see that you are saying. If 4000 out of 30,000 is a statistically valid sample, then 87% should be a valid extrapolation for the whole population.
However, as another person has pointed out, there are problems with this upon analysis:
The sample is not random, generally a requirement for assuming that the results are valid.
We don’t know the criteria for the culling out of the initial 24% (7,000).
If it were random, then we have another filter: only “about” 4000 - or 57% of the sample, were traceable by the US. The more accurate statement (assuming a random sample) would be that 57% of the guns reported seized were traceable by the US.
We might be able to conclude that 87% of the firearms in the US registry are from the US - but that does not give us any correlation between that figure and the number of guns seized. I would imagine that any non-modified full auto AK’s for instance, were not included in the 7,000 records sent to us, because they know they did not come from here in the first place.
I’d kind of like to know about all the weapons in our registry that are not from the US - that interests me for some reason.
All I can say to that is AMEN!
“a rogue agency willing to operate outside, or on the very thinnest edge, of the law if necessary to carry out what may or may not be an otherwise legitimate mission.”
That sounds like an accurate description of Eric Holder’s DOJ too. Very scary.
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