ATF Death Watch 146: Ten Questions About Those 99 Thousand Guns

 

Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive released limited, massaged and misleading information about 99k guns found at Mexican crimes scenes submitted to the ATF’s eTrace system from 2007 to 2011. The Bureau’s stats highlighted the “fact”that 68k of these firearms were “U.S. sourced.” The ATF’s press release was a thinly veiled smear campaign aimed at U.S. gun dealers. A repeat attempt to disguise the true supply of cartel weaponry (U.S. military and police sales). And a political effort to justify the Bureau’s extra-legal activities (e.g., Fast and Furious and the new long gun registry). Like TTAG and other pro-gun websites parsing this story, our man Landis in Arizona has some questions about the data, starting with a simple one . . .

“1.  Where’s the list of make, model and serial numbers for these firearms? Before the news of Fast & Furious broke and U.S. aid money started flowing to Mexican law enforcement, there was a good deal of information available about firearms recovered south of the border at crime scenes: time and location of incident; the guns’ make, model, and serial numbers. All this is being suppressed now.

2.  Which arms were transferred to Mexican government via U.S. aid vs. guns that were the result of commercial (i.e. gun dealer) transactions? The State Department has authorized tens of thousands of military and police firearms sales in just in past few years.(Everywhere one can go in Mexico these days you see U.S. made firearms in hands of Mexican government personnel, especially the AR15/M16/M4 platform.) The information is there; any and all firearms sales leave an extensive paper trail.

3.  Has the ATF cross-checked the list of confiscated guns against the FBI’s NICS register of stolen firearms? This should also include the firearms stolen in gun shop robberies,  i.e. the smash and grabs, etc.—which we could never get ATF to discuss. For a long time here in the SW, it has been an article of faith that stolen firearms end up in Mexico. Just like so many vehicles.

4.  Where did the rest of the 99k non-U.S. sourced firearms (31k) came from? Keeping in mind that governments who manufacture firearms and weapons in general can put any identification they want on them. None, duplicates, counterfeit, etc. As always, any significant number of weapons transferred involves one or more governments and their agendas.

5.  How many members of the Mexican military have defected to the drug cartels? When Mexican soldiers switch sides to the cartels they bring their weapon with them. At least one per soldier. If we knew the number of desertions we’d be able to see the ATF stats in better perspective.

6.  Where’s the data on guns destroyed by the Mexican government? Thousands of guns have gone under bulldozers. Where did those guns come from? It’s entirely possible that the Mexican government is destroying evidence: the guns smuggled by ATF-enabled cartel members during Fast and Furious and other U.S. sponsored programs.

7.  What about the guns used by Mexican law enforcement or military working for drug cartels? We’ve heard numerous cases of officials loaning weapons to prison inmates to go out and do hits. How many of the guns (presumably not reported to the U.S. for trace) confiscated came from this source? There are also many reports of Mexican Army disarming local police or rounding them up to inspect firearms.

8.  How old are the U.S. guns? Before the Mexican government instituted draconian gun controls about 25 to 30 years ago, there were many gun shops and sales to Mexican citizens. Of course U.S. made firearms were the vast majority imported and sold. The last time we heard the “time to crime” of the confiscated U.S. guns was seven years. Has that changed?

9. How many guns has Mexico imported from elsewhere? About a year ago, there was an uproar in Germany over exported arms being used in the drug war (e.g., H&K). And don’t forget our fiends in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, et al, whose agenda would be well served by a destabilized or failed narco state on the U.S. border.

10. When will Congress demand this information? Given the ATF’s ongoing stonewalling on anything to do with Operation Fast and Furious [a.k.a., "Guns for Goons"] towards both journalists and congressional investigators, it looks like it will take a lawsuit and/or a contempt of Congress citation to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to provide useful data on U.S. firearms in Mexico.”

avatar

About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

15 Responses to ATF Death Watch 146: Ten Questions About Those 99 Thousand Guns

  1. avatarDavid W. says:

    10. A. How many U.S. guns found in Mexico did not come directly through the U.S. but by way of another country?

    11. Are there any other U.S. government organizations in Mexico doing something similar to fast & furious right now (C.I.A., N.S.A, Stat Dept., etc.)?

  2. avatarRalph says:

    Talk about being lasered! Those agents look like they’re posing for a firing squad.

    • that’s the cartel in the front, Agents are in the back wearing black masks.

      • avatarRalph says:

        Yeah, I know, but it’s the agents who are lined up against the wall facing the guns. Hey, maybe they’re using the cartel punks as human shields. Now that would be cool.

  3. 3. According to Sharyl Attkisson at CBS, ATF didn’t cross check the firearms with NCIC or their own internal database of stolen firearms (ATF maintains a database of stolen firearms from FFLs). During Calendar Years ’08, ’09, and ’10, there were over 74,000 firearms lost or stolen from FFL’s with only a 23% recovery rate. Easily, some of these firearms could have made it across the boarder, however, they would be listed in the ‘unable to determine purchaser’ category (38,875 firearms).

    5. I think the estimate of defected MX soldiers is at 150,000

    9. ATF refuses to disclose the ‘time to crime’

    10. I don’t think anyone has a number of imported firearms into MX. One thing that is clear is that there are weapons entering MX from their southern border without papers. It could be that a trace was requested on some of those weapons and they are included in the 31,530 weapons that are listed under ‘undetermined source country’.

  4. avatarvirtualjohn says:

    What is annoying is the main stream media has given more play to the ATF’s announcements about US guns going to Mexico and the “need” for the Long Gun Registry than the whole Fast and Furious operation. I would be interested in poll numbers of how many Americans:
    1. Know what Fast and Furious was
    2. Understand the purpose of it
    3. That people, including US Agents have died because of it
    4. Are aware that DOJ has tried to cover-up the operation

  5. avatarHal says:

    Robert Farago! How DARE you post a picture of my closet on a public forum?! Furthermore, how did you obtain this photo?! This massive breach of privacy will be followed by a call from my attorney…

    Wait… Are those bundles of narcotics in the front? Who are the dudes in the background? I’m sorry, wrong picture. My bad. :)

    Also anyone else impressed? Magpul and HK in da house…

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      LMAO good one HAL!
      Saying that the guns were US sourced really doesn’t mean much to me. It is like saying we think the soccer balls used might have come from Indonesia. They need to provide detailed information on the history of those weapons. If you can come back and say we know fact here are the numbers and history of half of those weapons were made as straw purchases by people in the us form FFL dealers along the southern board I might actually be interested.
      But no, they make a broad statement and then expect shock and awe and FUD!

  6. avatarDavid W. says:

    Impressed?! You got better than HK’s there . . . those two big sticks standing up on the sides do not fire bullets but rather rocket propelled grenades. That should give any American a reason to pause about what is going on with our southern neighbor.

    * And please if you must destroy the guns Mr. Federally do not destroy the ammo!

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      Yup those look like Russian made RPG’s to me! I don’t know any FFL deeler in the US that sells those.
      I am sure there are but getting one would be next to impossible.
      Looks like there is an FN F2000 in there as well. I will assume it is fully automatic which means probably not sold from a US dealer.
      You now the sad part. This is just a tiny tiny sample of the firearms being seized in Mexico. Oh wait Mexico law says that you can’t own a firearm, or something like that right?
      Gee so much for gun control laws huh?

      • avatarRalph says:

        Mexican gun control laws are working exactly the way the government intended them to work. The population has been disarmed except for the cartels, and the government-backed Sinaloa cartel is winning the street war. What’s not to like?

    • avatarTom says:

      Actually, I was thinking that some of that stuff was not exactly over the counter at the local gun store. I thought the two weapons standing up were RPG launchers.

    • avatarHal says:

      Oh I know David. I was just suprised because didn’t expect a lot of HKs, Steyrs, FNs and really anything from Magpul. Ironically, all the cool toys we could never get here didn’t suprise me one bit.

      It would be good if we could get our hands on the list of SNs from Fast and Furious and compare it to some of the weapons shown here. Those 16″ barreled FN PS90s are a little fishy. I don’t think the Mexican military was all that concerned about our useless minum barrel length laws when they bought PDWs.

      As such they’re either from F&F (likely) or they’ve been smuggled south.

  7. avatarRichard says:

    Full auto usas 12 shotgun which can not get in gun stores in USA in the pic. Gee there alot hardware in that pic that can only get in some places in south america.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.