The Return of The Mexican Gun Canard

Based on a “study” by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“We can say that there is enormous violence in Mexico and most of the killing is done with guns and most of the guns used in the killing are originally from gun dealers in the United States,” said Arkado Gerney, one of the report’s authors.

The study, based on Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) data and prepared by the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, shows that three out of four guns used in crimes in Mexico and submitted for tracing were sold in the four U.S. states that border Mexico.

Notice the very important but understated qualifier in that second paragraph: “three out of four guns used in crimes in Mexico and submitted for tracing“. How many were not submitted to the US for tracing? I bet it’s significantly higher than 50%. Because if even close to 50% of the guns actually recovered could be traced to the US, they would certainly be plastering that number all over the news, too. Instead, they constantly fail to mention it. The most logical conclusion is that most of the guns actually recovered are so obviously from sources other than the US that they are not even bothering to submit them for tracing.

Notice what they’re not telling you in that article. How many guns were not submitted for tracing because it was obvious they did not come from the US? How many were not submitted for tracing for other reasons? Where did the rest of the recovered guns come from? How many of those guns were stolen? If I understand correctly, none of those states track non-dealer transfers, so how many hands did those guns pass through legitimately before they made their way to Mexico?

Also note the bias in the article. It first notes:

The report’s authors also analyzed the gun trace data on a per capita basis. The numbers showed that Arizona, Texas and New Mexico had an export rate 169 percent greater than any other states, which the authors suggest may be due in part to less-restrictive gun laws in those states.

Okay, AZ, TX, and NM do have less restrictive gun laws than some other states, and they are on the border. That may be a reasonable conclusion, right?

But wait! Later in the story, they give some numbers by state.

The top ten source states for supplying crime guns to Mexico in 2009 were Texas (2076 guns), California (1011), Arizona (690), New Mexico (173), Florida (113), Colorado (100, Oklahoma (90), Illinois (84), Nevada (56), and North Carolina (56).

Notice what the number two state is? That’s right, California! It beats both Arizona and New Mexico combined. In fact, more than half again as many guns were traced to CA as AZ, and CA beat NM by over five times as many guns. But they didn’t see fit to mention that when they were blaming the problem on “lax gun laws.” Probably because CA is one of the Brady’s top states for draconian and restrictive gun control laws.

Let’s look at that paragraph again, shall we?

Arizona, Texas and New Mexico had an export rate 169 percent greater than any other states

I have to wonder how they got that 169% figure, because I can’t get it from the numbers they’ve supplied. Adding AZ, TX, and NM together and comparing to CA (the highest state not included) gives 290%,  and comparing the total to TX (the highest state overall) gives 141%. The closest I got was comparing CA to AZ, which gives 160% (rounded up), but doesn’t actually have anything to do with their stated comparison.  So how did they manipulate the data to get that statistic – or did they just make it up? [See Update 3, below.]

So what do the top four states have in common, since it’s not the “lax” gun laws? How about the fact that they are all on the border with Mexico? In fact, if you look at a map, except for CA, the “export” rate follows the length of each state’s border with Mexico.  What’s different about CA? How about the fact that CA has more sanctuary cities than any other state except TX? Could that explain it? Could these facts possibly explain why these are the top 4 states, and why their number are so much higher than other states?

But they have to avoid mentioning California, because that doesn’t fit their narrative that we need tighter gun control to solve Mexico’s problem.

Another question they don’t bring up is how many of those guns that were “traced to the US” were sold to the Mexican government? The Mexican Army has a high desertion rate, and many of the deserters manage to take their issued weapons with them when they go join the drug gangs (or rejoin – the gangs like to have new members join the army for the training, then they pass that training on to other members).

So, based on a flawed study prepared by a group that is openly anti-gun, and ignoring other factors that contribute to the problem they claim to want to solve, they are pushing to restrict a Constitutionally guaranteed Right of Americans to “protect” Mexican citizens in Mexico from Mexican gangs that probably get most of their guns from sources in other countries.


It seems like all the anti-gun crowd has left to support their position is lies. Realistically, lies are all they’ve ever had, but now we have the evidence to counter the lies and the public support to fight them.

Update: Over at SayUncle’s post that linked back to this post (yay!), commenter divemedic noted:

So, the states with the highest numbers of Mexicans also have the highest numbers of Mexican criminals. This is my shocked face.

Yet another factor the anti’s continually fail to account for, because it doesn’t support their approved narrative. Also, the whole “border like a sieve” issue may have something to do with it, too.

Update 2 – 9/9/10: Uncle-anche! Up to 198 visitors at 2223 today – 159 on this very post! Welcome!

Update 3 – 9/10/10: Welcome reddit readers!

A couple of commenters at reddit have pointed out that the 169% I was questioning is based on per capita figures, not the actual total numbers I was looking at. I did miss that. I will point out, however, that while the ABC article I was looking at does say per capita, they did not include the per capita figures, and I did not (and still do not) see a link to the original report that does have those figures. I’ve gotten the link to that report from a comment at reddit. I do question if comparing per capita rates is better than comparing the per state numbers for the purpose of an objective report.

(h/t SayUncle)

[Source: Story from ABC News website, retrieved 9/8/10]

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  1. Jeff

     /  September 10, 2010

    How can the citizens of this country be to blame and the government of the United States held 100% accountable for the border? We have enough trouble keeping illegal immigrants out-if people are bringing weapons into Mexico it’s *Mexico’s problem,* not ours.

    Very good analysis-I for one have had it with the anti’s constant barrage of lies. All they will have left in a few years is their (mistaken) emotional appeals, and we can begin to roll back the unconstitutional gun laws that have been created in the last two decades and beyond.

  1. SayUncle » The return of the return of the Mexican Gun Canard
  2. Mexican crime guns do come from the US « Curses! Foiled Again!

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