The new Administration is perpetuating the fable. In March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted part of the responsibility, "Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians." On April 16th, in a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, President Obama specifically blamed America:
A demand for these drugs in the United States is what is helping to keep these cartels in business. This war is being waged with guns purchased not here, but in the United States. More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that line our shared border.Last week's New York Times uncritically repeated the talking point:
Federal agents say about 90 percent of the 12,000 pistols and rifles the Mexican authorities recovered from drug dealers last year and asked to be traced came from dealers in the United States, most of them in Texas and Arizona.UPI and the Chicago Tribune said the same.
Are the Administration and the liberal media right?
No. Confederate Yankee's Bob Owens has long been in the vanguard of exposing this lie. Even before Obama's speech and the media's sympathetic parroting, Owens linked to this April 2nd FOX News report:
There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:Still, it turns out that that figure, too, is wrong, according to FactCheck.org:
It's just not true.
In fact, it's not even close. The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.
What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."
But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.
"Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market," Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.
In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S.
But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.
In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.
[T]he Fox figure of 17 percent is based on a misreading of some confusing House subcommittee testimony by ATF official William Newell. The Fox reporters come up with a figure of 5,114 guns traced to U.S. sources in fiscal 2007 and 2008. That figures to 17.6 percent of the 29,000 figure for guns seized in Mexico, as given by the country's attorney general.Conclusion: No one should minimize the deadliness of south-of-the-border violence, nor the consequences for America should Mexico become even more of a failed state. But on his world apology tour, Obama shouldn't blame America first, implicitly indict the Second Amendment, or try to solve Mexico's problems by changing U.S. law, as the Washington Times editorialized:
The 5,114 figure is simply wrong. What Newell said quite clearly is that the number of guns submitted to ATF in those two years was 11,055: "3,312 in FY 2007 [and] 7,743 in FY 2008." Newell also testified, as other ATF officials have done, that 90 percent of the guns traced were determined to have come from the U.S. So based on Newell's testimony, the Fox reporters should have used a figure of 9,950 guns from U.S. sources. That figures out to just over 34 percent of guns recovered, assuming that the 29,000 figure supplied by Mexico's attorney general is correct.
Even that number is too low. At our request, an ATF spokesman gave us more detailed figures for how many guns had been submitted and traced during those two years. Of the guns seized in Mexico and given to ATF for tracing, the agency actually found 95 percent came from U.S. sources in fiscal 2007 and 93 percent in fiscal 2008. That comes to a total of 10,347 guns from U.S. sources for those two years, or 36 percent of what Mexican authorities say they recovered.
The mistake the Fox News reporters made was to focus on some numbers given by Newell and Hoover in separate testimony, regarding numbers of guns traced to specific states. But not all guns traced to the U.S. can be traced to specific states. The Fox numbers are "a subset" of the actual total traced to U.S. sources, one official said.
Numerous sources of weapons supply Mexican crime syndicates. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar filled with AK-47s from China, shoulder-fired rockets from Soviet-bloc manufacturers and fragmentation grenades from South Korea. In the past six years, more than 150,000 Mexican soldiers have deserted from the army, with many taking their standard-issue Belgian-made M-16s with them. Drug runners, who by trade are adept at smuggling, have the ability to sneak weapons across borders from anywhere they want.It continues to be an outrage that the media won't fact-check liberals or lefty arguments with which they agree--especially since the truth was available before Obama's press conference. And it's truly strange that when Obama makes America responsible for another country's anarchy, MoveOn.org doesn't say a word.
The Obama administration has proposed spending $400 million to stop U.S. guns from going to Mexico. A major part of this plan would be to clamp down on gun shops in America. As with all gun control, new laws will not stop the criminals from getting guns but will curtail the rights of law-abiding individuals and businesses.