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Sen. John Cornyn: American Guns and Mexican Violence
National Review Online ^ | February 8, 2012 | Sen. John Cornyn

Posted on 02/10/2012 3:43:20 PM PST by neverdem

The debate over U.S. gun laws and Mexican drug violence brings to mind Mark Twain’s famous quip about lies, damned lies, and statistics. In a recent editorial, the Washington Post blamed American policies for exacerbating the bloodshed, pointing out that “70 to 80 percent of the traceable guns seized in Mexico can be tracked to the United States.” The key word there is “traceable.” While it’s true that most of the traceable guns originated north of the border, those weapons represent a very small portion of total Mexican gun seizures.

According to a Government Accountability Office study based on data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), only 7,200 of the roughly 30,000 guns seized by Mexican authorities in 2008 were sent to ATF for a tracing analysis. Scott Stewart of STRATFOR has noted that just 4,000 of them were found to be traceable. Of the traceable guns, 3,480 were linked back to the United States. In other words, only 12 percent of the guns confiscated in 2008 were positively traced to the United States. In May 2009, the Associated Press reported that the Mexican military had “305,424 confiscated weapons locked in vaults.” Because those weapons were not submitted to ATF, their origin is unclear.

We should obviously take reasonable steps to block cartel members and their associates from buying guns in America, while also upholding Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s bewildering strategy was to let more than 2,000 weapons “walk” across the border into Mexico as part of “Operation Fast and Furious.” The Post editorial characterized this program as a “well-intentioned, misguided response to — and not the cause of — the proliferation of illegal guns in Mexico.” That is a rather generous description. The program was disastrously conceived and disastrously executed. Fast and Furious weaponry has been used to commit scores and scores of killings. In December 2010, it was used to murder a brave U.S. Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry.

What about the U.S. assault-weapons ban (AWB), which expired in 2004? Citing estimates from a senior Mexican official, the Post said that the portion of seized guns classified as “assault weapons” has grown from about one-third in 2005 to 60–65 percent today. Yet Mexican drug violence was accelerating before the AWB lapsed — in 2001, then-president Vicente Fox called for “a war without mercy” against the cartels — and President Felipe Calderón’s courageous post-2006 crackdown on organized crime has prompted the gangs (1) to fight back against the government and (2) to fight a lot more with each other.

In his 2011 STRATFOR report, Stewart made an important observation about trends in Mexico drug violence: “In recent years the cartels (especially their enforcer groups such as Los Zetas, Gente Nueva and La Linea) have been increasingly using military weaponry instead of sporting arms. A close examination of the arms seized from the enforcer groups and their training camps clearly demonstrates this trend toward military ordnance, including many weapons not readily available in the United States” (emphasis added). “Some of these seizures have included M60 machine guns and hundreds of 40 mm grenades obtained from the military arsenals of countries like Guatemala.”

Indeed, wrote Stewart,

Latin America is awash in weapons that were shipped there over the past several decades to supply the various insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in the region. When these military-grade weapons are combined with the rampant corruption in the region, they quickly find their way into the black arms market. The Mexican cartels have supply-chain contacts that help move narcotics to Mexico from South America and they are able to use this same network to obtain guns from the black market in South and Central America and then smuggle them into Mexico.

As Stewart concluded:

Even if it were somehow possible to hermetically seal the U.S.-Mexico border and shut off all the guns coming from the United States, the cartels would still be able to obtain weapons elsewhere — just as narcotics would continue to flow into the United States from other places.

No question, the United States should be doing more to help Mexico stem the rising tide of drug-related violence. But we should also be skeptical of claims that American gun laws are at the root of the problem.

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TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 90percentlie; atf; banglist; brianterry; dea; dhs; doj; donttreadonme; fastandfurious; fbi; gunrunner; gunwalker; holder; ice; obama; terry; youwillnotdisarmus

1 posted on 02/10/2012 3:43:32 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

The addlepated jourbalists all agog about these “traceable” firearms found in Mexican crime aren’t bothering to look into the obvious, all right.


2 posted on 02/10/2012 3:52:22 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: neverdem

Heard anything about whether Holder did/did not comply with Issa’s Feb. 9 @ 5 p.m. deadline to come up with the documents that were subpoenaed? I don’t recall seeing/hearing anything.


3 posted on 02/10/2012 3:54:13 PM PST by MissMagnolia (Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. (M.Thatcher))
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To: MissMagnolia

Issa pu$$ied out.


4 posted on 02/10/2012 3:56:39 PM PST by OKSooner (Today's new tagline. Tomorrow's new tagline pending.)
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To: neverdem

Isn’t there a saying that, If you want to win an argument with a liberal, just provide the facts.


5 posted on 02/10/2012 3:57:15 PM PST by qaz123
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To: qaz123
Isn’t there a saying that, If you want to win an argument with a liberal, just provide the facts.

All Liberal arguments are based on emotion, generally emotional responses to misrepresented data.

6 posted on 02/10/2012 5:06:05 PM PST by tpmintx (Problem: The people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who VOTE for a living.)
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To: neverdem
A close examination of the arms seized from the enforcer groups and their training camps clearly demonstrates this trend toward military ordnance, including many weapons not readily available in the United States” (emphasis added). “Some of these seizures have included M60 machine guns and hundreds of 40 mm grenades obtained from the military arsenals of countries like Guatemala.”

But not exclusively, Sen. Cornyn.

"Grenade-walking" part of "Gunwalker" scandal

And this...

Worse Than Gunwalker? State Dept. Allegedly Sold Guns to Zetas

Phil Jordan, a former CIA operative and one-time leader of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center, claims that the Obama administration is running guns to the violent Zetas cartel through the direct commercial sale of military grade weapons:

Jordan, who served as director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center in 1995, said the Zetas have shipped large amounts of weapons purchased in the Dallas area through El Paso.

(snip)

“They’ve found anti-aircraft weapons and hand grenades from the Vietnam War era,” Plumlee said. Other weapons found include grenade launchers, assault rifles, handguns and military gear including night-vision goggles and body armor.

More about State Department involvement...

— has sources claiming “Obama’s man in the State Department,” (former) Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, was the State Department operative who helped Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General David Ogden formulate the strategy that led to the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious.

Steinberg took office as Deputy Secretary of State on January 28, 2009

A little more than two years later, it was announced that Steinberg's time in the Obama State Department was over. From the New York Times, 30 March 2011:

Mrs. Clinton heaped praise on Mr. Steinberg, describing him as an “indispensable” partner. “On every foreign policy challenge, big and small, he has helped formulate our policy and oversee its execution,” she wrote. Mr. Steinberg, she said, played “Oscar to Jack Lew’s Felix,” referring to Jacob J. Lew, her other deputy, who left earlier this year to become Mr. Obama’s budget director.

Want to read even more about State Dept. involvement? ...

Sipsey Street Exclusive: "In at the beginning." The State Department & the Gunwalker Scandal.

7 posted on 02/10/2012 5:12:41 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: MissMagnolia
Holder granted extra time to turn over 'Fast and Furious' documents
8 posted on 02/10/2012 5:17:38 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: TigersEye; OKSooner

Thanks!


9 posted on 02/10/2012 5:28:15 PM PST by MissMagnolia (Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. (M.Thatcher))
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All contributions are for the Current Quarter Expenses.


10 posted on 02/10/2012 5:47:22 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
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To: OKSooner

Did you really expect him to do anything else?

Even if he wanted to bite, Boehner is holding his upper plate.


11 posted on 02/10/2012 11:38:36 PM PST by itsahoot (I will Vote for Palin, even if I have to write her in.(Recycled Tagline))
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To: OKSooner
Issa pu$$ied out.

No, he didn't -- the RiNO Neural Plexus did, and Boehner yanked his leash. The Plexus people want a second term for Obama, as long as the economy's in the tank and Obamacare hasn't yet taken their employee healthcare plans off the books (to allow their healthcare costs to flow down to the bottom line).

Obama in the White House and RiNO's sitting in Congress, like birds on a wire .... waiting .... for something, I don't know what yet.

12 posted on 02/11/2012 1:11:22 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem

The Senator spoke at CPAC today too. I was a bit surprised but he wasn’t bad. And at the same time, as with his fears of guns in the hands of these cartel thugs, I saw an article that hinted that the Speaker wanted to tone down Issa’s investigations of Fast and Furious. This must not be allowed to happen. Write the Speaker and ask him to support Issa’s efforts to investigate Holder and Bama on this outrage.


13 posted on 02/11/2012 7:22:48 PM PST by phillyfanatic
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