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Back in the day, the Obama administration ran a black bag job called Operation Fast and Furious. As far as we know, the program was designed to establish a link between American gun stores and Mexican drug thugs, to build a case for an assault weapons ban in the U.S. To hype the issue, the feds claimed there was an “iron river” (their words) of guns flowing south. The ATF touted misleading stats to “prove” its existence. While F&F is history, the ATF is at again. Check this out from . . .

From 2009 to 2014, more than 73,000 guns that were seized in Mexico were traced to the U.S., according to a new update on the effort to fight weapons trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The figure, based on data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, represents about 70 percent of the 104,850 firearms seized by Mexican authorities that were also submitted to U.S. authorities for tracing.

The data was analyzed by the Government Accountability Office, which notes in its report that U.S. police agencies have acknowledged firearms smuggling is fueling violent crime in Mexico.

Sigh. A few things to keep in mind (again) . . .

1 Mexican law enforcement officials are not a trustworthy source of information

The GAO report agrees, highlighting both their incompetence and corruption. Less obviously (to some), the ATF fingerprints are all over this thing. The three most repeated words in the report: “according to the ATF.” Which could be replaced with “according to the Agency that ran a secret, illegal gun running operation that allowed more than 2000 U.S. gun store guns to “walk” to Mexican drug thugs, one of which was used to kill U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”

2.The 104,850 ATF-traced guns were submitted by the Mexican government for trace 

The stat doesn’t include seized firearms the Mexican authorities didn’t submit for trace. Mexican cartels are armed with thousands of full-auto firearms that somehow “seeped” from official U.S. sales to the Mexican police and military. The Mexicans aren’t going to ask the ATF to identify police and military-issue firearms, are they?

3. The report doesn’t reveal how many of these seized firearms were taken from otherwise law-abiding citizens

Mexican citizens are defending themselves from cartel extortion, rape, mutilation and murder by forming autodefensas (armed citizen militias). Given the government crackdown on autodefensas civilian firearms may account for a significant percentage of this total. The GAO doesn’t mention the possibility, although they acknowledges that their ignorance: “We were unable to obtain quantitative data from U.S. or Mexican government sources on the users of illicit firearms in Mexico.”

Needless to say, NPR doesn’t mention any of this, preferring to parrot the party line: U.S. gun stores are fueling Mexican gun violence! Like this:

“Most of the firearms seized in Mexico that were traced and found to be of U.S. origin from 2009 to 2014 came from U.S. Southwest border states,” the GAO report says. “While guns seized in Mexico of U.S. origin were traced to all of the 50 states, most came from Texas, California, and Arizona.”

Many of those guns were bought legally in the U.S. and then smuggled over the border, according to the GAO.

“About half were long guns, such as the high-caliber AR-15, preferred by cartel gunmen,” NPR’s John Burnett reports for our Newscast unit. “Mexican drug traffickers continue to rely on straw purchasers who legally buy the weapons in the U.S., then transfer them to criminal gangs.”

What’s a low-caliber AR-15? A .22? Good luck getting ammo for it. Meanwhile, did the GAO or Mr. Burnett interview/survey drug traffickers before coming to the conclusion that drug traffickers rely on U.S. gun stores for their weapons? Doubtful. Perhaps GAO pencil pushers, Mr. Burnett and Sean Penn should do a little field research . . .

NPR should know better. Basing a story solely on the 45-page ATF GAO report is, as they say in the UK, a mug’s game. The GAO says “We corroborated this information in discussions with U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.” Awesome! Equally, the GAO blithely accepts the ATF’s assertion that many of the gun smuggled into Mexico come from U.S. gun shows (yes, that again). Proof proffered? None.

Look around the GAO reports edges and you see serial stupidity. Check out the pics at the top of this post. And this: “Officials also noted that in recent years they have seen DTOs [Drug Trafficking Organizations] acquire military equipment such as .50 caliber machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers.” Hey! My local gun store and gun shows don’t stock any of those things!

“This type of equipment is known to often be trafficked into Mexico from leftover Central American military stockpiles from past conflicts.” I wonder if some of the millions of gun the U.S. government has poured into those “conflicts” somehow made it into the cartels’ hands. Hmmm.

Truth be told, the GAO report consists of massaged data designed to feed the assault media the anti-gun memes they need to help the ATF and its ilk degrade and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Not to mention giving the Mexican government an excuse for not being able to stop cartel violence (assuming they’d want to) and their ongoing efforts to arrest, imprison and disarm Mexico’s citizen militias. Same you-know-what, different wrapper.

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    • I bet most of those long guns are .22 rimfire rifles and shotguns. It is what ordinary people in Mexico can afford. If you look at the auto-defensas, most of them have .22s and shotguns.

      And you know the pictures are usually staged to put AR types front and center for dramatic effect.

  1. Funny how the USA resembles Mexico more and more each day.

    Our politicians and LE are every bit as corrupt and with Texas ceding places like Brownsville (how apropos) to the cartels it wont be much longer until Americans will be forced to take the law into their own hands.

    • I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t actually mean Brownsville, but “places like Brownsville”, as you say. Because saying that Brownsville has been ceded to the cartels would just be idiotic. The murder rate in Brownsville is almost half the national average. It’s the new global headquarters for the SpaceX commercial launch platform and is a constant tourist location, because it’s gorgeous and clean. I’m in Brownsville all the time, and the only thing it has been “ceded” to is thousands of drunken college kids every spring break, which, by the way, is when the rape rate often more than doubles.

      • Nope Brownsville West to Hargill belongs to the cartels. Head to west Brownsville at night and see how long you last.

        • I’m on 281 all the time (Hargill is much more north than west of Brownsville). There are routes around there I would certainly be concerned with, and prepared for. West of Brownsville is one of them, but very well outside of the city. Brownsville itself is the least of my concerns.

      • The .gov should at least make them put a disclaimer in their articles/broadcasts: “Anything the reporter says about firearms should be taken with some skepticism, because nobody here at NPR knows shinola about the subject”.

  2. NPR should know better.

    It does.

    As far as the GAO report is concerned, GIGO. Regardless of the GAO’s intent, garbage in, garbage out.

    • Remember how determined our enemies, yes enemies, are. They are going to, by hook or by crook, do anything the can yo get their way. They want the 2nd Amendment and private gun ownership eliminated so badly, they will fabricate any lie or study. Then they will blindly repeat it over and over again until the convince enough people it is the truth. They have no moral code or sense of honor. They seek to deceive. They are evil. Just plain evil. This isn’t hyperbole.

  3. Right, don’t lift a finger-nail to regulate the border (looser than GITMO if you can believe it), just complain about the guns you’re running South over it.


    This is just another POS (D) problem.

    • I’m a conservative who thinks drugs should be legalized here, because I don’t see anything in our Constitution allowing the government to do anything but.

      But thinking that stopping the “war on drugs” will suddenly make Mexico a land of unicorns and rainbows is naive at best. It’s supposed to what? Make the cartels suddenly go legit? The most impact it will have on the drug supply is they won’t lose so much of their product coming over the border. That’s about it.

      We need to stay the hell out because that’s what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing, anyway. But the cartels really are the problem of the Mexican government (corrupt as all hell) and the Mexican people. Nothing will change south of the border until the PEOPLE decide to take back their freedom. It can’t be given to them by us or anyone else, and tooling up and sitting tight (the autodefensas) isn’t the answer either. Only when the people get pissed enough to openly revolt will any outside help make one bit of difference.

      • Absent drug earnings made possible by prohibition in the US, the Cartels won’t have nearly the amount of money for arms and bribes they do now. Drugs are cheap as heck to grow, produce, market and distribute. Prohibition is the only thing that makes the business profitable enough to fund veritable armies.

  4. All the more reason to “build a wall” or a dam if you will. I believe that the USG dies not want one for ANY reason.

    • More like, all the more reason to make sure noone who ever sets foot in Washington, will ever have access to enough of other people’s confiscated earnings, to even afford building a wall for his doll house. Get rid of drug prohibition, and ….done…..

  5. Mexico is precariously close to becoming a failed state, and there are ample reasons for a lack of confidence in their ability to self correct. They have a long history of pervasive corruption – all manner of criminal elements have easily penetrated governmental institutions. Recent events have evidenced that those institutions aren’t suffering from a simple affliction of mundane corruption, but are horrifically compromised. The army, police, and cartel enforcers are implicated in several grisly massacres, and it many expect it won’t be long before we see a US law enforcement officer or judge beheaded. The budding consequences for the US are very grave, and Mexico’s failure to end its massive human rights abuses will eventually undermine our relationship with them as a major trade partner. With ever increasing instability, and the peril of massive refugee flows engulfing the border states with Mexicans fleeing violence (few of whom would return home even if conditions improved), the volatility of the situation is very real. So, if you don’t like undocumented immigration from south of the border, then a stable Mexico is an excellent defense (that, and big freaking wall!).

    • Sounds like the ohole administration.

      + we were in a “named /acknowledged” border war with Mexico as late as 1909, and it’s never ended as a cold war.

  6. Nothing to be concerned with here gentleman. What with the atf’s new orders from obama to track down these “stolen” guns. Am l right?

  7. NPR? Where’s the racial or gender inequality angle? They couldn’t report on a old ladies bake sale without bringing up race or gender.

  8. During the second Bush, they had “Operation Wide Receiver”, it was the same thing. When it was found out, the administration did a fast cover up and the MSM went along with it.

  9. So per our SOP. Why don’t we rush in and occupy Mexico??? Set up firebases and re-train the police etc….We do it all over the world. Mexicans are brown people so what’s the hold up? I think there are WMD’s in mexico. Makes ya wonder don’t it. For the Children!!!

  10. High caliber AR-15’s fire the 5.56 round, which is twice as big as the 0.223 round. They can also fire a 30 caliber magazine clip in half a second, thirty rounds in half a second. They’re even deadlier with a barrel shroud, which is the shoulder thing that goes up.

    Of course, the cartel would be much better equipped with double barreled shotguns.

    The best way to solve the problem would be if the ATF instead smuggled guns that fire chocolate bullets. Then everyone would be happy.

  11. In a country were the ordinary person cannot acquire a gun by legal means, am i supposed to be shocked that most of the guns found there came illegally from elsewhere? This is just an international version of the “Illinois blames Indiana for its gun problem” game.

  12. “Most of the firearms seized in Mexico that were traced and found to be of U.S. origin from 2009 to 2014 came from U.S. Southwest border states”

    Unpossible. There is a big sign at the border crossings saying you can’t bring guns into Mexico. Maybe they should get some of those sweet gun free zone signs that are popular here and post them in Mexico?

  13. Everything from .22LR to 6.8 SPC are “low-caliber” AR15s. A “high-caliber” AR15 is something like a .458 SOCOM or .50 Beowulf, or maybe .500 Phantom, .45 Raptor, .510 Beck, or .338 Lapua if you include those “stretched” AR15s. Truly big bore rounds aren’t very useful in a shootout unless you’re fighting wild hogs, though.

  14. The term “US-sourced guns” has many implications often missed in these pieces. What exactly are those sources? (Excluding F&F guns)

    Bob’s Bait-n-Tackle: Sure, some guns are acquired by straw purchasers at sporting goods stores and smuggled illegally to Mexico. This drip of “onesies & twosies” smuggled guns is not an “iron river.”

    State Department: The US State Department authorized tens of thousands of US guns to be shipped to Mexico each year via the DCS program. These guns are primarily destined for police and military forces. Some firearms are permissible for Mexican civilians and are sold by the Mexican military to authorized civilians at the only gun store in Mexico City run by the Mexican military. Often, legal guns sent to Mexican security forces are “diverted” to the criminal black market. The US civilian marketplace and sporting goods stores are not responsible for this “iron river.” These guns far outnumber those smuggled illegally from the US civilian market to the Mexican black market. Yet they are always lumped together as “US-sourced” guns.

    Direct Military Aid: The Merida Initiative is a arms agreement between the US and Mexico that sends guns, ammo, equipment, and armament to Mexican security forces. Similar military aid programs exist for other Latin American countries – and have for many years. Like the State Department DCS guns, these too are often diverted from the legitimate security forces to the criminal black market. From El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, when these guns end up being transferred from security forces to cartels and criminals, they too are lumped in with all other “US-sourced” guns.

    While none of the government reports have indicated any breakdown of numbers, I contend that the greatest portion of “US-sourced” guns recovered are not from US sporting goods stores, but rather from US State Department DCS sales program or US military aid programs. Blaming sportsmen and bait-n-tackle shops for US guns in Mexico is politically expedient for politicians who are anti-gun, but it is simply not the primary source of US guns in Mexico.

    Do the research. Look at the the numbers (and cost) of guns and ammo sent via the Merida Initiative. Look at the number of State Department DCS guns sold to Mexican security forces. Look at Stratfor estimates of the percentage of guns “diverted” to the criminal market in comparison to the bulk number of guns our own government authorizes for shipment to Mexico.

    The US civilian marketplace and sporting good stores are not responsible for the vast majority of crime guns in Mexico or the number of “US-sourced” crime guns in Mexico.

  15. There is not now, nor has there ever been at any time in the past, or is ever going to be at any point in the future, any “Iron River” of guns flowing fro the U.S. to Mexico. If anything, it’s the opposite.

    There are multiple reputable sources that are either hot-linked or in footnotes in each article, and are easily searchable and easily verifiable for yourself. It’s absolutely unimpeachable evidence that thoroughly debunks the lingering liberal regressive myth of any “Iron River” of guns from the U.S. into Mexico.


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