Previous Post
Next Post

ATF agents (courtesy

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) traced more than 364,000 guns that were recovered from international crime scenes in 2015,” reports. “Tracing guns from manufacture to purchase helps law enforcement investigate crimes, the agency said. ‘Trace information can link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation, identify potential traffickers, and detect international patterns in the sources and types of crime guns.'” Well they would say that, wouldn’t they? Because if you think about it . . .

what would be the point of maintaining the mountain of end user identification — including tens of millions of form 4473’s and the serial numbers of all guns manufactured in and imported into the United States — if the ATF didn’t use the info to fight crime? (Some might say it’s a precursor to government firearms confiscation but I couldn’t possibly comment.)

The real question: how many traced guns led to an arrest? Statistically speaking, I’m thinking you can round the number down to zero. But what do I know? Just this: a big part of that 364k traced guns is down to the ATF’s multi-million dollar expansion of its e-Trace system to foreign countries, putting American gun buyer information into the hands of our “allies.” Like this:

The ATF announced Friday it traced guns found in Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean last year.

The ATF traced more than 17,000 guns found at Mexican crime scenes. Nearly 8,300 guns were found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

More than 1,300 guns were found at crime scenes in the Caribbean.

While Canadian authorities recovered more than 1,400 guns.

The bit that really galls me: the ATF Mexican trace numbers have been and continue to be used to hype the “iron river of guns” flowing into Mexico. Which [supposedly]  justified the ongoing reporting requirement for border state gun shops as follows:

All federally licensed firearms dealers and pawnbrokers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas submit to ATF reports of multiple sales or other dispositions of certain rifles to unlicensed individuals when two or more particular kinds of rifles are transferred at the same time, or within five consecutive business days of each other. The types of rifles that must be reported are those with the following characteristics: (1) semiautomatic; (2) a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 mm); and (3) the ability to accept detachable magazines.

The requirement was established in August 2011. It was automatically renewed in 2014. It’s set to expire in 2017 — unless it’s renewed. What are the odds?

Note that the number the ATF provided for firearms traces originating in Mexico– 17k — represents a fraction of the total number of guns confiscated by the Mexican military. For some strange reason, the Mexican authorities don’t report the number of guns confiscated at crime scenes stamped “Property of the Mexican military.”

Sent South of the Border by Uncle Sam, along with hundreds of thousand of other fully automatic weapons sent to other South American countries for decades. Paid for by your tax dollars, of course.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

    Are you claiming that the Mexican military and police organizations might be selling firearms to cartel members, and possibly selling seized firearms out the back door, almost as fast as they’re coming in the front?


    • Not necessarily. Deserters–and there are apparently many–take their weapons with them, as one source, or participate in organized thefts of others as a second source, but these thefts do not necessarily involve the command structure. Proof of direct sales by high government officials (or high ranking military officers) have not been shown, AFAIK.

      • While there are certainly military converts, drug cartels with access to and endless supply of cash and every arms dealer in the world, has no problem buying what ever military grade weapon available.

    • Well, they’re not buying machine guns and hands grenades at Wal-Mart in El Paso.

    • it will stop after they make stuff super duper double illegal instead of just regular single illegal.

  2. The ATF traced more than 17,000 guns found at Mexican crime scenes.

    And of course the ATF reported how many of those were guns cunningly allowed to go from the US to Mexico as part of Project Fast and Furious Gunwalker, one of which was used to murder BP Agent Perry.

    What was that number, ATF? Say again, please? ♪♫ I can’t hear you… ♪♫

    (Thank you Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea.)

  3. I hear that all the rocket launchers and fragmentation grenades the cartels use are also from Arizona gun stores.


  4. Oh gee, the ATF performed 365,000 traces, a statistic that, standing alone, is essentially meaningless. How many of those 365,000 were guns that, ultimately, did not ship from the US? Inquiring minds want to know. And how many resulted in an arrest or conviction for illegal sales in the US (obviously we do not prosecute foreign murders, irrespective of the source of the guns)? As RF says, that probably rounds down to zero.

    For that matter, what is the point of tracing guns used in crimes in the U.S.? As the ATF is well aware, guns actually used in a crime are usually stolen, and the theft was many years previously. Once a gun is lost or stolen, the tracing to the original sale and the original owner is a pointless exercise except in cases where the shooter stupidly used a gun he/she had purchased from a guns store. A much smaller sample are straw purchases (which are rarely prosecuted). The ONLY ones I can think of that resulted in charges being brought was the purchase of the ARs by the San Bernardino shooters from a brother-in-law (plus the prosecution of a police officer who used his uncle’s money to buy a Glock, rather than his own.)

  5. How many of those guns were used in an actual violent crime, as opposed to the possession of the gun BEING the only crime…

    Has someone compared the number of supposed “crime guns” found/confiscated to the actual number of crimes committed with a gun? …if that’s at all possible – I’d be shocked if they even came close to matching. If the trace back to an original or subsequent FFL purchase was of any real value to solving crimes, you’d think there would be a serial number and registry for every knife, screw driver and ball bat as well.

    I know… don’t give them any ideas.

  6. 1000 a day? If they keep them they will have them all in about 1100 years (rounded).

  7. Correct me if I am wrong but as I understand it, registration is not needed to help solve crimes because there is another method. A cop will contact the manufacturer of the firearm, the manufacturer will tell what shop sold the gun according to its series number, and the gun shop will have the 4473 of whoever bought the gun that was at the crime scene. Is that how it happens?

      • The ATF is just a jobs program at this point.

        A bunch of idiots with wrap-around sunglasses sucking the taxpayer teat.

        Shut that $hit down.

  8. Subtract the 28,000 guns they claim were seized in Mexico, Central American countries, the Caribbean, and Canada from the 364,000 they claim to have traced, that means that 336,000 of the guns must have been traced to a black hole somewhere in Federation space. That 336,000 must be the 90%(+) guns that Obama, Holder, and Clinton claim constitute the non existent “iron river”.

  9. “US-sourced guns” does not mean that the firearms originated from the civilian retail market (eg: Bob’s Bait & Tackle.) The US State Dept approves, via the DCS Program, the shipment of many thousands of guns from US manufacturers and distributors to other countries – many in Latin America. US Direct Military Aid (eg: the Merida Initiative for Mexico) sends thousands more guns from US manufacturers and distributors to security forces in “allied” countries.

    These DCS and DMA guns were never in the US civilian market; rather they are direct, gov’t-sanctioned exports from the US. While there is certainly a number of guns diverted from the US civilian marketplace to the international black market via straw purchases, etc., these numbers pale in comparison to DCS and DMA guns shipped overseas with US gov’t approval and then diverted, in the receiver country, to criminal enterprises via graft, theft, and corruption.

    The news media never differentiates between the trickle of “US-sourced” guns that were diverted from the civilian marketplace vs. the gov’t-sanctioned DCS/DMA “US-sourced” guns that end up in criminal hands. If there is a river of iron flowing from the US to LatAm, the blame rests primarily with the US State Dept’s DCS Program (and the graft, theft & corruption in the receiver country) – not sporting goods stores in the US serving our civilian market.

  10. Fox News has put the percentage of guns that have been traced to U.S. sources at only 17 percent,
    Obama would have been correct to say that 90 percent of the guns submitted for tracing by Mexican authorities were then traced to the U.S. The percentage of all recovered guns that came from the U.S. is unknown.
    Who knows? But both the Mexican and American Government will never give a straight answer.

  11. While Canadian authorities recovered more than 1,400 guns.

    Since there are very few shootings in Canada, one must assume that in most cases, the “crime” that was committed was possessing an unregistered gun and/or not having the correct Possession and Acquisitions License.

  12. Fascinating, so did they actually solve any crimes with this data or just make a pretty presentation? WTF are we paying you for?

Comments are closed.