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Clearly, the ATF is going on a public relations offensive after the epic and deadly screw-up known as Fast and Furious (a.k.a., Guns for Goons). And man is it offensive. Yesterday, we learned that the Bureau is using their newfound extra-legal regulatory powers to investigate 123 potential cases of gun smuggling, wherein gun purchasers in Texas MAY have done something wrong, based on the fact that they bought two or more larger-than-.22 caliber rifles in a five-day period. Today, the nets are buzzing with the same old crapaganda that justified Fast and Furious. ATF: 70 percent of guns found in Mexico come from US proclaims. Like the dozens such headlines circulating through the blogosphere, The Hill is accepting the ATF’s stats at face value. AGAIN. So AGAIN we’re going to shoot them down . . .

Click here for ATF RELEASES GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO FIREARMS TRACE DATA, or, as the CIA likes to call it, counterintelligence. In fact, the only way to see this “new” info as the ATF wants you to see it—evidence of an “iron river” of illegal guns flowing from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug cartels—is to check your intelligence at the door. To wit:

WASHINGTON – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today announced the release of trace information for firearms recovered in Mexico and submitted to ATF for tracing. Trace information shows that between calendar years 2007 and 2011 the Government of Mexico recovered and submitted more than 99,000 firearms to ATF for tracing. Of those firearms more than 68,000 were U.S.-sourced.

Why 2007 to 2011? Strange that; the ATF used to submit these Mexican gun confiscation stats to the public on a yearly basis. Perhaps four years of numbers combined sounds more impressive than one year’s worth.

The ATF also used to provide a list of the weapons involved identifying each weapon’s age, type and origin. Last time that happened, we discovered that the average “time to crime” (purchase to recovery) was seven years. Yes, the average U.S. gun recovered in a crime scene south of the border was seven years old.

It’s clear the ATF HAS the list. But once again they’re saying “I am the great and powerful Oz” (i.e. pay no attention to the stats behind the curtain):

U.S.-sourced firearms are guns determined by ATF to be manufactured in the United States or legally imported into the United States by a federal firearms licensee. Since 2007, trace data shows a trend in recovered and submitted crime guns from Mexico shifting from pistols and revolvers to rifles. Law enforcement in Mexico now report that certain types of rifles, such as the AK and AR variants with detachable magazines, are used more frequently to commit violent crime by drug trafficking organizations.

But the main point, the bit that makes this stat misleading, false and full of fail, is this: these are weapons that “the Government of Mexico recovered and submitted.” The Mexican government does not submit all recovered weapons to the ATF’s eTrace system. Claiming that “70 percent of guns found in Mexico come from the U.S.” is just plain wrong.

Who gets it? Which mainstream media outlet used Google to check the veracity and context of the data in light of the ATF’s Fast and Furious program and long history of anti-Second Amendment activity (e.g., Waco)? Here’s today’s Google email for “guns”. Read ’em and weep [note: links inactive]:

I repeat: the overall sample—99k guns submitted for trace—is statistically invalid. Just as it was last time. (Fun fact: 31,000 guns submitted for eTrace included in this survey didn’t come from the U.S.) And that’s because . . .

Mexican law enforcement agencies regularly destroy confiscated guns. In the picture above, reports that “The Mexican army destroys thousands of guns in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, on February 17, 2012. At least 6,000 rifles and pistols seized from drugs cartels were destroyed.” One city, one month, 6,000 rifles.

It’s also worth noting that Mexican soldiers and police have been known to personally confiscate weapons for themselves. And/or resell better examples to the cartels. Oh, and the most marketable firearms are modern fully automatic weapons. Machine guns. Not for sale at any U.S. gun store.

Did I mention the curious fact that the previous confiscation stats attempting to demonize U.S. gun stores included thousands of guns that were counted twice? In other words, even the bad data is bad.

Bottom line: those 68k U.S. sourced weapons are a drop in the bucket compared to the total population of crime scene weapons captured by the Mexicans. AND the weapons NOT confiscated by the Mexicans. AND the ones DESTROYED by the Mexicans. AND we don’t know the age, source or condition of the weapons.

If you’re inclined to believe that 68k guns is 68k thousand guns and something must be done, check this out:

At the most, the total number of Mexican guns submitted for eTrace tied to U.S. retailers in one year is 6,733. In 2010, that number was 3,112. That would be the same year that the ATF helped gun smugglers shift over 2000 guns from U.S. gun stores to Mexican cartel members. (The same year drug thugs wielding ATF-enabled rifles murdered U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.) Assuming the Fast and Furious guns are included, that’s over 2/3 of the total for the year.

So it’s not 68k guns traced to U.S. gun stores. It’s 27,825 out of a non-representative sample of 99k guns. I make that 5,565 per year on average. Spread out over 8500 border-dwelling gun stores. Who most probably did not know where the guns were going, nor have been charged with conducting a so-called “straw purchase.” Well except for Badger Guns but that was dismissed when it was revealed that the ATF put them up to it.

One word for all that: GTFO.

As the ATF launches its long gun registry, as Congress continues to expose the illegal homicidal gun smuggling activities of a Bureau beyond the law, the ATF wants the public to believe that there’s a huge problem of guns flowing from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug thugs (necessitating all the ATF’s jackbooted behavior). To quote the B52’s . . .


At best it’s a trickle. The single largest source of firearms to Mexican drug cartels is the seepage of military firearms into the cartels ranks.  At least 100k Mexican soldiers have defected to the cartels, taking at least 100k machine guns with them.

And who authorizes the bulk sale of America-made military rifles to the Mexican military and police? Uncle Sam. And how many weapons have the Mexicans submitted to the U.S. for eTrace that have “property of the Mexican military” stamped on them? Or attributed to U.S. military sales? None. Or maybe just the ones categorized “unable to determine a purchaser.”

The ATF’s PR campaign is a sham. Even worse, it’s the exact same sham that the Bureau used to justify and promote Operation Fast and Furious, Operation Castaway (guns to Honduras), grenadewalker (releasing a known grenade maker) and, most recently, the long gun registry.

The ATF is a cancer on the body politic. If we accept its lies we authorize it to subvert the rule of law. America deserves better. As do Mexicans. Or anyone else who knows that the government is the single greatest threat to our liberty.

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  1. No suprise try this again after all Obama him self killed bill from congress that would stop Operation Fast and Furious ever happening again. Does suprise me all Atf is those did this again got blessing for straight from White House.

  2. BATF needs to be put under some serious scrutiny. A very anti-2A organization that is allowed to do things seemingly unchecked to violate the civil rights of Americans. Especially the F-troop.

    Every one of their Acts should be reviewed, scrutinized, repealed, then redressed to give back our liberties or at the very least make good sense (looking at you NFA’34 with your dumb silencer and minimum length BS). Probably won’t see that in my lifetime I guess.

    Their spending is out of control with their various raids and stings over $200 paperwork. Wonder how much they spent prosecuting citizens with firearms that malfunctioned to auto fire.

    Almost ZERO of their rules/laws/acts make ANY sense. They must only hire anti-liberty, anti-2A personnel.

    • @Nate — “They must only hire anti-liberty, anti-2A personnel.” That is not accurate whatsoever. Many BATFE personnel (investigators, inspectors, managers, those who process your paperwork, etc.) own personal firearms, enjoy target shooting, hunt, attend gun shows for personal reasons, collect firearms, etc. just like any regular person interested in firearms.

      The ones who determine and direct the policies and regulations that BATFE imposes on us are elected and appointed politicians. While Congress passes develop and passes laws, the POTUS and it’s officers (e.g., AGOUS) and the selected the directors / branch managers, every 4 or 8 years, are the ones that direct the policies. It is not the BATFE personnel themselves…they are just doing their job and following the laws / regulations / policies…they’re soldiers following orders who want to keep their job.

      My point is if you want to blame someone, then blame the POTUS and AGOUS and members of Congress. But, please do not insult the workers of BATFE.

      • “Ve vere just following orders” is not a legitimate excuse and is routinely used as a defense by people with no moral compass.

      • Duh, Nate! You can’t blame the people who actually enforce the un-Constitutional and immoral edicts on you. They are hard working folks who need their jobs and, besides, they didn’t come up with the regulations, they’re just following orders. Blame those in power… never mind that their capacity to oppress would be completely diminished without lackeys to enforce their tyranny. Sheesh.

    • “…BATF needs to be put under some serious scrutiny…”

      That happened back in the 90’s; the recommendation of those engaging in scrutinizing BAFTE(ARBF) was the dissolution of the entire agency.

      BATFE(ARBF) has ALWAYS been a corrupt orginization; it was created by repurposing a previous orginization that was also hugely abusuve and corrupt. Nothing can change this, short of axing the agency, along with the deletion of any “administrative law” forced upon us by same, and the firing—and subsequent disbarment from holding any government job or office in the future—of every single employee thereof.

    • “…please do not insult the workers of BATFE.”

      At some point the low level worker has got to see that the outfit he works for is corrupt. At that point he has two choices — work to change it or quit. Given that change in a large federal agency must come from above and without, quiting is the only option. Just sticking your head down and doing nothing is not the moral or honorable choice. I have no sympathy for those that still work for the BATF. They have decided their jobs are more important than principles.

  3. I wonder if the “Unable to determine a purchaser” could possibly be firearms provided by the US government to the Mexican government?

  4. New study shows that man who comes up with list of guns to see if they came from the US is good at his job. Story at 11.

  5. “AK and AR variants with detachable magazines.”

    Do they make them with non-detachable magazines?

    …impednding sarcasm alert…

    FIXED, your welcome ATF; AK and AR vairanges with detachable magazines, triggers that make them go boom, a barrel in which a deadly projectile exits, and advanced iron sight systems typically reserved for military use.

  6. ATF Statistics. The new math. Every single time that I learn more about statistical claims and how the numbers are arrived at from — the ATF, unemployment reports, the so-called sex-based wage gap, the real deficit and real (long-term) national debt, etc — the more I find the numbers knowingly manipulated and promoted by those with their political agendas.

  7. Robert,

    While I don’t disagree with the point of your editorial, one point seems a little strange.

    It seems you are simultaneously saying that the 6,733 guns that were legitimately tied to US retailers is a small number and the 2,000 tied to ATF is a big number. Now of course the ATF activity was egregious and maybe part of the 6,733 were some of the ATF guns. But still, something seems strange when you call 6,733 a trickle yet agent Terry was murdered from one of 2000.

    Of course we’d all like the number of illegal guns going to Mexico to be zero and infringing on US citizens rights is not the right tactic to reduce the number. But still, despite the lies from the ATF, is still worth putting some thought into reducing the number of illegal guns headed south?


    • The difference is the 2000 were willingly given away by the ATF. The rest are presumably lost through illegal transfers, but at an alarmingly lower rate than what the ATF is claiming, plus the numbers are inflated by Mexico first by ignoring all sorts of other instances going on with them.

      I agree it’s worse to die by a gun our government knowingly put in the hands of crimnals, as opposed to one by some illegal straw purchaser. The first is a lot more controllable and thus shouldn’t have happened.

  8. An additional fact that continues to get ignored in coverage of US guns to Mexico is the draconian gun control laws of that country. Common citizens at best are allowed shotguns and .22 rifles. For years it was common practice for Mexican immigrants working in the US to return to their home villages for periodic visits and they would often finance the trip by carrying a few handguns back with them to sell for gas and travel money. If a Mexican citizen is caught with an illegal firearm it would be confiscated and added to the grand total of weapons collected. So, just because a gun came from here doesn’t mean it ever had anything to do with the drug cartels.

  9. Mexico is a disaster. To be honest all this ATF activity while illegal isn’t going to do much at all to stop the cartels. It is simply stated to justify the AFT existence and continued activities. Mexico needs to go after them with a vengence, but they don’t their government is to corrupt.
    I want to see the Next POTUS put ATF on a hot plate and turn it on…
    Anyone of the candidates have enough balls to make that statement they get my vote!
    Better yet any one of them have enough fortitude to put the states on a hot plate for infringing on our 2A?

      • I assume you’re talking about Ron Paul. I like him a lot better than every other candidate. One of the things that I liked the best is that in every debate he actually answered questions. He has plans for his ideas, proposed budgets, and how to implement them. Everyone else just steered every question into the typical anti Obama dribble and provided no intelligent thought.

        • Precisely. He may be old, and old-fashioned in some of his views. But as far as gun rights and individual responsibility, he’s spot on. If he’s not on the ballot, I’m writing in.

  10. The Mexican government blames (much or all) of the drug cartel violence on the demand for drugs in the USA. That is ‘somewhat’ true since if there wasn’t any demand for illegal drugs then drug-related violence wouldn’t exist. Nothing to fight over. The Cartels would have to find another way to make money.

    If Mexican citizens didn’t want guns for whatever use then they would not buy them. In the real world, if the Mexican government legalized the purchase, ownership, and use of guns by private citizens in calibers beyond .22 and shotgun then the demand for guns could be met legally. Mexican citizens could open gun shops. New tax revenue could be found. Firms could start manufacturing guns for citizens providing even more jobs. Mexican citizens could defend themselves from criminals. Overall crime would drop. I must be a rocket scientist to know this stuff.

    Unfortunately, armed citizens would be perceived as a threat by the corrupt government. Better to let the sheeple die in the streets.

  11. I’d like to know how many Mexican “crime guns” can be traced back to the Miexican military. Of course, such information will never be disclosed because it might prove embarrassing to that abominable government south of the border, and to the abominable agency called the ATF.

    • Great Solution. Impossible to implement. Because Mexico will never seal the border on their side.

  12. If there is anything to be said about that picture, is that the SIGs will be okay. They have hell and back reliability!

  13. Trace information shows that between calendar years 2007 and 2011 the Government of Mexico recovered and submitted more than 99,000 firearms to ATF for tracing.

    …and people say we do not have gun registration in the USA…

  14. 1oo% of the boot toes up Holder’s butt ought to be American. Then turn him over to the Mexicans for trial for gun-running.

  15. A very interesting article. Thanks!

    An asphalt roller does not strike me as a particularly robust means of destroying a foot thick layer of weapons. I suspect that when the show was over they were salvaged and reassembled into working equipment. Bets?


  16. Here, now that these guns are destroyed, I would be happy to take them all. I bet 50% or more are in working order once they are done steam rolling them.

  17. I would like to place some common sense on this subject. If you believe that Mexico’s cartels are spending the time, money and risk to purchase rifles legally in US there’s a screw loose in your head. Listen to these facts. They are likely purchasing in bulk from poor war torn countries and entrepreneurs from Europe, Asia, Middle East, and yes South America. According to the above report 68000 guns are moved across the border per year that means 186 are moving per day. That is logistically a larger deal than moving of cash and drugs. Law enforcement could literally pick the illegals off like flies. Out of every news real or real TV show I have never seen one person arrested swimming south across the Rio with rifles strapped to their backs. Now I know my writing is sarcastic and not as actuate as this site true data but think they don’t buy retail, legal, and not in anything other than bulk shipping containers. They have the money and means to do so and the only way to run a war.

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