Video: The Mexican gun canard

posted at 10:53 am on April 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

We probably can discount any mathematical calculations made by the Barack Obama administration after we discovered that they overstated the TARP funds by a hundred billion dollars, but consider this just an extra data point. The Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton, have tried floating the notion that 90% of all firearms captured by Mexican officials in drug busts come from the US. Fox News reports exclusively that those statistics rely on a completely dishonest manipulation:

There’s just one problem with the 90 percent “statistic” and it’s a big one:

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, 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.

What’s the actual number? It looks closer to 17%. Only a third of all weapons captured by Mexican officials actually get referred to the US for a trace. Of those, only about half can be traced at all, and 90% of those get confirmed as US sourced.

As Fox explains, this makes a lot of sense. Mexico has a flood of black-market arms coming from around the world — Russia, China, Central and South America. In fact, one of the big sellers in the Mexican black market is the Mexican Army. They had 150,000 deserters over the last six years, most of whom took their standard-issue, Belgian-made M-16 rifles with them.

So why make up the lie? The more conspiratorial will conclude that the Obama administration wants to have a pretext for seizing weapons. Public statements like those made by Hillary Clinton certainly put pressure on the US to take some sort of action, if we’re admitting to being the problem. So far, the Obama administration has not proposed a solution to this mythical problem, but we will want to keep a very close eye when they do.

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