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In an April 2011 study entitled Update on U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico Report author Colby Goodman reveals that “tens of thousands” of firearms eTrace requests submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF were duplicates. In many cases, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive traced the same weapon five times; the Mexican police, their federal crime lab, the military, and the Attorney General’s office all wrote down information on the same firearm. The Attorney General’s office in Mexico City submitted trace requests on all of the records. Bottom line: the statistics on “seized Mexican guns” are even more inflated than previously reported. And less useful too . . .

ATF officials have said they have only been able to use about eight percent of Mexico’s firearm trace requests to initiative investigations in the United States.

It’s got to be asked: what percentage of that eight percent investigation stat are linked to guns the ATF already knew about, through their brain-dead decision to allow indeed enable gun smugglers to smuggle guns into Mexico from the U.S.?

The fallout from the joint American – Mexican eTrace inefficiency is pretty spectacular. And not in a good way. As as result of these duplicate “successful” traces:

1. The first American purchaser receives up to five separate duplicate trace reports on one gun that he may have innocently bought years ago.

2. The selling dealer will also receive up to five ‘criminal’ traces on his record.

3. The Mexican authorities submitting the traces will receive multiple trace reports providing the personal information (name, address and personal data) of the first purchaser, and the name and address of the selling dealer.

And so the ATF Death Watch begins. Although it’s a bit of a stretch to believe that an entire federal agency will be disbanded, I now believe that there’s a chance that the ATF will lose its status as a fully-fledged federal agency. More, lots more, to follow.


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  1. When I was a Criminal Justice major back in the early 90’s and students/professors were talking about organizations for which to work, the general consensus was that the ATF was highly political, constantly engaged in inter-agency bickering and generally a very dysfunctional place to work. Many people, including educators, said the agency should be shut down. Honestly, at the time, I thought this was mostly wanking from FBI fans.

    How wrong I was.

    • Remember, lies, damm lies and statistics. I remember awhile back there was a anti-drug commercial that was taking about drugs in the inner city and that it was 30% of drug use. What they did say was the other 70% was the bored kids down the street in middle America.

  2. So congratulations to the ATF — Mexico’s principal source of illegal guns. Great work, guys. I always knew that you could do it.

  3. … I now believe that there’s a chance that the ATF will lose its status as a fully-fledged federal agency.

    One can only hope.

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