Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gun Control in the Name of Good Diplomatic Relations: Why the Numbers Just Aren’t Adding Up

Not to underplay the devastation of the cartels on the rampage in Mexico, because it is bad (so bad that a friend and coworker with family in Michoacán asked how he could buy an AK-47 and smuggle it to his family there), but the violence seen along the border is going to be used as a jumping off point for gun control in the United States by this administration.

A new assault weapons ban, one with teeth this time that will avoid all the mistakes of the 1996 ASB as well as the UN Small Arms Treaty will be passed so that the Dear Leader can profess his willingness to work via multilateral structures to help our international allies.

The Media blitz is already upon us in this regard with the groundwork being laid that not only are we in the US responsible for the demand side for the Cartels products (which to be honest is partially true) but that we are also primarily responsible for the supply side of the firearms.

Enter the hazy and not so clear “statistic” that I am seeing more and more to justify this:


Mexican and US authorities have traced over 90 percent of the guns used by the cartels to American gun shops and shows, even though US laws forbid foreign nationals from buying fire arms.
USA Today

ATF acting director Michael Sullivan said investigators have traced 90 to 95% of the weapons found in Mexico to the U.S.
Washington Times

The State Department says firearms obtained in the United States account for more than 90 percent of Mexico's drug-related killings.
Everyone’s favorite assholes Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball

As much as 90 percent of the assault weapons and other guns used by Mexican drug cartels are coming from the United States, fueling drug-related violence that is believed to have killed more than 7,000 people since January 2008, according to estimates by Mexican and U.S. law enforcement officials. But the political obstacles to addressing the U.S.-to-Mexico weapons flow are dramatically underscored by Holder's experience in just the last few weeks.
And naturally, what compilation of questionable firearm related statistics and quotes would be complete without a quote from some douchebag democratic politician from San Francisco

"It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers, mayors, kidnap innocent people and do terrible things come from the United States," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said at a hearing Tuesday. "I am appalled that you can buy a 50-caliber sniper weapon anywhere and it's not restricted to a federal firearms dealer - you can just buy it."
But what does this 90% really referring to? As you can see from the highlighted section there seems to be some confusion. Is it more than 90% or less than 90%? Is it 90% of all guns confiscated or 90% of all guns used in the commission of a crime? Is it 90% of all guns used to commit a murder (any murder) or just 90% of all guns used to murder innocent people?

According to the ATF, this 90% figure refers to 7,743 firearms found at crime scenes in 2008 that could be traced were traced to suppliers in the United States. To put this in perspective that means that 8604 guns that were take from crime scenes had identifiable markings that allowed law enforcement to trace their origins. Now, if we are to believe people like the esteemed Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D-USSAistan), then only 8604 guns were confiscate in all of Mexico in 2008. Only 8604 guns confiscated in all of Mexico in 2008 ..... anyone else having a hard time swallowing that load of shit? More guns are seized in Chicago every year, and it has 1/40th population of Mexico (with similar firearms laws). Its especially difficult to buy considering that the same people pushing the 90% figure are also pushing the equally ridiculous claim that 2000 guns a day are being smuggled into Mexico from the Untied States, which by my math puts the total for 2008 at 730,000. If we extrapolate these “statistics” a bit further one could surmise that only 1% of all firearms smuggled into Mexico are used by the Cartels in their drug turf wars. Almost seems like the vast majority of American firearms going into Mexico are being used responsibly.

Aren’t statistics fun?

But like all political battlespace preparation, horseshit statistics and “facts” are just one element of the attack. They can also rely on the ignorance of the fifth estate.

For example

Lax gun laws and lax enforcement in the United States have made it easy for Mexican gunrunners to buy and transport everything from AK-47s to Stinger antiaircraft missiles, which then allows the cartels to use these high-powered weapons against rival gangs or against a military attack. More than 90 percent of the thousands of guns confiscated yearly in Mexico have been traced to US origin.
I must have missed the FIM-92's and AT4’s next to that Ruger 10-22 I just bought at Mega Sports. Damn it! Got to look closer next time. And it pretty obvious that Dicky McGee hasn’t bought a gun if he thinks that gun laws are lax, maybe lax by Khmer Rouge standards but pretty tough on an absolute basis.

And another:

Assault weapons made in China and Eastern Europe, resembling the AK-47, have become widely and cheaply available in the U.S. since Congress and the Bush administration refused to extend a ban on such weapons in 2004.
Really? I bought 4 Romanian AK-47’s in 2002 all for less than $1,000 total. How much cheaper and more widely available have they gotten? And clearly the RPG’s, grenades and machine guns that the cartels are now using are common wares at any Wal-Mart since the expiration of the assault weapon ban don’t cha know?

And Lastly

Some weapons seized from drug traffickers, such as grenades, are stolen from the Mexican military. But drug traffickers have little interest in weapons carried by the military, because they are of lower caliber than the semiautomatic weapons from the US, says Martin Gabriel Barron, a researcher at the National Criminal Sciences Institute in Mexico City. The semiautomatics are then often modified to fire like machine guns.
Let me see .... drug traffickers have little interest in Mexican military weapons (whose arsenal is nearly identical to the US military) and instead prefer to buy civilian versions of US military small arms (coincidentally the same kind used by the Mexican military) and then take the time to modify them to “fire like machine guns” .... exactly like the ones from the Mexican military. And although I really should defer to the Christian Science Monitor’s Sara Miller Llana with her master armorer certification from Colt firearms on this one, how exactly does one modify a “semi automatic” to “fire like a machine gun”? I am under the assumption that the replacement of the barrel and extensive modifications to both the upper and lower receiver to not only change the action from semi-automatic to fully automatic but to also take the larger rifle cartridge (as opposed to the smaller assault rifle cartridge) that is the signature of a “machine-gun” would make it easier to just but a machine gun and forgo any modifications. But that’s just me I suppose.

Wow, those Mexican drug cartels sure do like to do things the hard way.

Is suspect, and far be it for me to just make shit up like the “morans” above but many of these “military style weapons” are not coming from the U.S . I suspect they're coming from Central America and Colombia, which have been flooded with weapons over the past 40 years. The Soviets and their client states made over 100 million AK-47’s and shipped millions to Latin and South America. Even when poorly maintained they have long duty lives and can be purchased for as little as $20 in some parts of the world. So tell me why a smuggler would spend $500-1000 at a gun show in Dallas for something he could pick up in Ecuador or Nicaragua for $50?

They wouldn’t, that’s the answer.

Now I am not dismissing the fact that weapons do flow from the US to Mexico and that a number of these do wind up in the hands of the cartels but there has been no case made that American guns are a significant factor in Mexico’s ongoing drug cartel wars. I, like many people, suspect (and with the Holder/Clinton/Obama triumvirate its not a wild suspiction) that this is simply going to be used as an excuse to pass both the UN’s Small Arms Treaty and another Assault Weapons Bill.

So stay vigilant kiddies and keep your powder dry.

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