The WaPo repeats the Mexican gun canard

posted at 6:15 pm on April 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

How do urban legends retain their vitality?  Ignorant people pass them along as fact.  Unfortunately, sometimes that includes the national media, as it does today in the Washington Post.  In a report on Barack Obama’s get-tough policy with Mexico, reporter Spencer Hsu repeats the canard that 90% of the guns seized by Mexican authorities come from the US:

The Obama administration accelerated what is normally a year-long effort to add names to the banned list. The government did not identify assets held by the three cartels, but authorities have estimated that $19 billion to $39 billion in drug proceeds flows south each year from the United States.

The financial sanctions provide an additional tool against the organizations, whose drug and gun trafficking has proved exceedingly difficult to curtail. Mexico, for example, has seized more than 35,000 firearms from narco-traffickers since December 2006, and both governments say 90 percent of the weapons originated in the United States.

The effort to curb the southbound flow of what some have called an “iron river of guns” has faced heavy obstacles, including limited resources, relatively open access to firearms and political opposition to tighter gun regulation.

Apparently, it’s not enough to skip checking the stats for Hsu.  He has to wax poetic about “an iron river of guns,” which in the end makes him and his patented Layers of Fact-Checkers and Editors look all the more foolish.  Because, as we know and the ATF has already admitted, that statistic is just plain false.

The ATF correctly states that of the guns that can be successfully traced by the ATF or FBI from the guns sent to them by Mexican authorities, about 90% have origins in the US.  However, Mexico doesn’t send all of the guns that they capture to the US for tracing; only about a third of them get sent here.  Of that third, roughly half can’t be traced at all, thanks to efforts to strip the weapons of registration markings.  With the other half, about nine of ten can be traced to the US, which works out to about 17% of all weapons seized by Mexican officials.

Even Hsu’s data should have given him a clue.  With 35,000 weapons confiscated, a 90% figure should mean the US identified 31,500 weapons as originating in the US.  However, during that time, only 5,114 of those weapons got traced back to the US, or about 17%, give or take.  The rest of the weapons originate in Russia, China, Central and South America — and from discharged veterans and deserter from the Mexican Army, who keep their weapons and then sell them on the black market.

This is the kind of information that might be handy to WaPo readers: accurate and factual.  Perhaps both governments trot out that nonsense, but shouldn’t newspapers exist to test government claims?  However, when one knows what the real numbers are, one can’t write about an “iron river of guns.”  Maybe Hsu should stick to poetry.


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the ny times is doing the same thing.

rob verdi on April 16, 2009 at 6:21 PM

A LIE is as good as the Truth….if you can get liberal media to believe it.

originalpechanga on April 16, 2009 at 6:23 PM

How do urban legends retain their vitality? Ignorant people pass them along as fact.

Right. Like the Mexican ambassador to the United States.

Mexican Envoy Defends Claim That Most Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

aengus on April 16, 2009 at 6:24 PM

It is just a flat out lie, something that Obama is no stranger with, that the guns and other weapons that the drug terrorists are using in Mexico come from the USA civilian market. Now it is true that some of the weapons transfered to the Mexican Army by the US Government have wound up in the terrorists hands. How does that happen?

Americans have been prohibited from owning these weapons since the 1934 NFA was passed.

tarpon on April 16, 2009 at 6:24 PM

I know… Let’s subsidize newspapers!

eforhan on April 16, 2009 at 6:24 PM

Fark is still posting link to it, as it was as well.

Kaptain Amerika on April 16, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Oh sorry, Ed. You already linked it. No it’s not up to newspapers. It’s a diplomatic affair so it’s up to Obama to refute it.

aengus on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 PM

“You will admit that (31,500 / 5,114) = 90, or we will send you to Room 101, Winston.”

Master Shake on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 PM

“You will admit that (5,114 / 31,500) * 100 = 90%, or we will send you to Room 101, Winston.”

Master Shake on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Which as you say could be very easily done.

aengus on April 16, 2009 at 6:27 PM

“You will admit that (5,114 / 31,500) * 100 = 90%, or we will send you to Room 101, Winston.”

Master Shake on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 PM

*shiver*

RushBaby on April 16, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Guns are illegal in Mexico………….

…………. why are we having this discussion?

Seven Percent Solution on April 16, 2009 at 6:33 PM

A LIE is as good as the Truth….if you can get liberal media to believe print it.

originalpechanga on April 16, 2009 at 6:23 PM

FIFY

thomasaur on April 16, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Thefirearmsblog did a report on it.

It doesn’t take much critical thinking skills to understand it cheaper and safer for Mexican’s drug gangs to buy it from the Mexican’s military and Law Enforcement or imported from South of their border. These gangs also produce their own weapons in house. It’s not like guns are hard to make. Firearms are simple machine.

How many gunshop do you know that sell live RPG and grenades in the USA?

jdun on April 16, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Let’s blame Napolitano for weapons trafficking from America thru Arizona when she governed courageously there.

seven on April 16, 2009 at 6:36 PM

ignorant retard

aka: American Television Journalist

SilverStar830 on April 16, 2009 at 6:41 PM

It doesn’t take much critical thinking skills to understand it

Wouldn’t they have to actually have critical thinking skills?

jdkchem on April 16, 2009 at 6:41 PM

The Washington Post has just won the Joseph Goebbels accuracy in propaganda award. Now for other news……..

Johan Klaus on April 16, 2009 at 6:41 PM

I’m sorry. That was wrong.

I didn’t mean to offend any actual retarded persons.

SilverStar830 on April 16, 2009 at 6:43 PM

Let’s blame Napolitano for weapons trafficking from America thru Arizona when she governed courageously there.

seven on April 16, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Here she is courageously submitting attending an Islamic public event at a publically funded stadium, in her own state, while she was Governor of her state.

Napolitano, Pelosi, Clinton, etc ad nauseum have much in common. As quasi-heads of state, they’re all ready to submit. Well, not as much as Napolitano though. She’s clearly willing to submit right on her own turf.

http://www.pakistanlink.com/Community/2004/Feb04/20/04.html

.

SilverStar830 on April 16, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Obama’s response to the Tea parties is to announce that “Right-Wingers” are a problem and to assure Mexico that he will assist Mexico in stopping the flow of “illegal guns”, as long as they provide him a couple of kilos of top quality Mexican Marching Powder for his own personal use.

Actually I fibbed about him wanting cocaine. That was a rumor.

As to how he plans to “help” Mexico, he is going to use military assets (quite literally Blackhawk” helicopters).

See, we don’t have the money to use military personnel to seal the border to stop illegal Aliens, but we have enough money to use military personnel to seal the border to stop illegal Aliens stealing guns and going back across the border with guns.

This is not going to get better.

GunRunner on April 16, 2009 at 7:03 PM

Fox News has been very good about the truth on this matter.

Here’s how I see the talks going down there

Obama: Here’s my deal. You don’t do anything about drug smuggling and I won’t do anything about illegal immigration.

Calderon: You drive a hard bargain, but you have me over a barrel. I have no choice.

darwin-t on April 16, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Isn’t this an Alinsky tactic: Tell a lie often enough and it will become “truth.”

Christian Conservative on April 16, 2009 at 7:16 PM

See, the thing is, the Cartels get a two-fer from the Soldiers who desert and the Cops who also turn sides. They not only get the weapons, but they get the soldiers to carry them as well, since it’s not much money at all to double or even triple the wages the government pays down there.

But, yeah… why would the MSM ever let facts get in the way of the DNC talking points, er, I mean, News Stories? yeah, that’s it… News Stories… sigh…..

AW1 Tim on April 16, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Andrea Mitchell said the very same thing today on MSNBC. F#cking lying ba$tard$!

mossberg500 on April 16, 2009 at 7:36 PM

The TOTUS repeated it in his speech, too.

PJ Emeritus on April 16, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Just another step in our disarmament.

Maquis on April 16, 2009 at 8:29 PM

Hey, guess what? Obama repeated the lie, too!

flipflop on April 16, 2009 at 9:00 PM

AP joins the flock:

Mexico is the main hub for cocaine and other drugs entering the U.S., and the United States is the primary source of guns used in Mexico’s drug-related killings.

juliesa on April 16, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Obama repeated it as well in his speech from Mexico.

Romeo13 on April 16, 2009 at 9:22 PM

Never let facts get in the way of a liberal mantra.

GarandFan on April 16, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Judging by the comments section in the WaPo article, Hzu is getting hammered for his poor research. Will we see a ‘correction’ tomorrow? Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

GarandFan on April 16, 2009 at 9:31 PM

NPR did the same thing today on All Things Considered, at 3:00 in.

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=103183487&m=103183470

Chest_Rockwell on April 16, 2009 at 10:11 PM

And the guy that states this erroneous fact is a college professor.

Chest_Rockwell on April 16, 2009 at 10:12 PM

Pretty much the whole control-freak movement is driven by a series of Big Lies, from “you’ll only be worse off if you try to defend yourself” to “The Second Amendment was meant to protect the National Guard” (which didn’t exist, among 100 other reasons the claim is fraudulent).

The lies are the most tiresome part of this particular debate, perhaps because I’ve been debating the issues with liars my whole adult life. If it wasn’t for the leftist MSM and academic sewing-circles, the lies would eventually die out. But, like this particular lie, they keep soldiering on because those who repeat them really don’t give a damn what the facts are.

And because their opponents (us) won’t play by the “win at any cost” rules.

Merovign on April 16, 2009 at 10:13 PM

Agree with others. This lie is deliberate and is going to be persistent as will any story in which a sick so and so commits a crime with a firearm. Doesn’t matter where the crime occurs, it will be national news. Conversely, NO story relating successful defense of self by a citizen with a firearm will be reported nationally, at the state level, or locally. The first step of reversing the 70% of people supporting firearms ownership is underway.

To paraphrase The One, it is time for us to get in peoples’ faces, tell them the facts, make sure the facts are circulated on the internet and make sure that people understand that private ownership of firearms is not only lawful, but also moral and leads to a lower crime rate.

Ironically, nobody seems to point out the fact that private ownership of firearms is pretty much illegal in Mexico unless you are one of the ruling elite. So the drug gangs are already committing a crime by just having those firearms (well, DUH!). So why is it the US is supposed to pass laws to prevent people in Mexico from breaking laws when they are already breaking laws?

AZfederalist on April 16, 2009 at 11:02 PM

Here’s video from Fox News today.

darwin-t on April 16, 2009 at 11:36 PM

Close the damn border. Gun traffic (if it actually exists), drugs, illegal aliens – all solved.

Oh sorry, forgot that the Mexican economy depends on narco-economics and money transfers from illegals to keep their economy afloat. (Not to mention Libs looking to add to the base by legitimizing 50M illegals for their base.)

realitycheck on April 16, 2009 at 11:51 PM

Ok, so now I get to write a long one.

Our President is Lying to us.

Specifically about the Mexican Gun Problem.

Here is why.

Full Automatic Weapons:

Since 1934, all fully automatic weapons have been listed in the Treasury’s index of Registered machine guns. Since 1934, no fully automatic weapon in this registry has been implicated in a crime. Weather you like guns (I do) or not this is simply a fact.
.
Since 1989, Any fully automatic weapon that is produced today in the U.S. must be sold to 1) The Army 2) The Federal Government 3) Police Departments through VERY specialized Class III dealers. 4) The National Guard
.
Also it should be noted that the paper trail on EACH weapon is a miles long and 5 such arms missing from the above sources would be a National scandal, let alone 5000! Also, Beretta of Italy produces most of our Army’s rifles today because Colt Firearms, which owns the old rights to the Armalite AR-15 weapons system, is a UAW Union shop and they haven’t had a competitive Bid in years, their 1911 market was taken over by Kimber and their products have such a poor reputation for reliability that several national Gun Smiths have made their reputations reworking the 1911 with “reliability packages” so these were NOT produced in the U.S. Given that there have been NO reports of 1) Army Bases reporting stolen Arms 2) National Guard Armories reporting stolen Arms 3) Police Departments reporting stolen Arms 4) The FBI reporting stolen Arms, these Mythic Mexican Guns are not from the U.S.
.
But maybe O-liar meant SEMI-automatic firearms! Wups!:
.
There are many more manufacturers of AR-15 type, semi-autos in the U.S. however all of them have to keep a running list of serial numbers of EACH receiver and all weapons are dropped into the FFL transfer database. These weapons can only be transferred through a FFL located ONLY inside the United States and to a single individual whose background is checked through the “Instant Check System” controlled by the Federal government. Any leaks and the offending FFL gets shut down, his business broken, and ten year prison sentences get handed out like candy. Remember that John “Muhammaud” Malvo’s weapon got traced to a single store here in the U.S. the second it fell into Police hands. We should be seeing some store owner in cuffs by now if the O-liar is having to “make a deal” with the Mexican Government. Even if it were a rogue manufacturer the government could hunt it down. Besides serial numbers, a manufacturer’s weapons have certain pins, small parts, sights, steel and alloy’s used in making them that would allow the FBI to trace them in a hour. They probably have an example of every manufacturers AR-15 in a rack at BATF.

However, there is one source of weapons that the Fed does not control. The Mexican Army and the Mexican police. Since we have been selling AR-15′s to Mexico hand over fist for YEARS (even through the DEA don’t ya know) to prop up the regime it just might explain all those fully automatic weapons that keep going missing over there and ending up in the drug gangs hands.
.

This may not be the “Reichstag fire” gun owners are fearing, but this stinks to high heaven. If anyone is leaking fully automatic weapons it is O-liar, but he is not going to tell you that. After all, you don’t want to waste a crisis.

GunRunner on April 16, 2009 at 11:52 PM

NO, the ACTUAL number is 63 of 31,311 given in the memo from the BATF&E to DHS on 17 February 2009. The 5114 is actually the number of ALL weapons given by the mexican Governent of all firearms to be traced.

nelsonknows on April 17, 2009 at 1:19 AM

If you doubt me on this, I SAW the memo, PERSONALLY when I worked with DHS…remember, I posted about the DHS report on right-wing extremism on Hotair two days before it hit any media and before even Michelle reported about this.
This kind of crap and DHS officials taking DHS workers into a room, (including myself), taking our cell phones and wanting us to fill out a 40 question, questionaire, are the reasons I QUIT my job a DHS.

nelsonknows on April 17, 2009 at 1:25 AM

GunRunner on April 16, 2009 at 11:52 PM

An example of how one little lie can grow to be National policy with a straight face. Still a lie, nonetheless. The big lie isn’t always the best lie. Its the little ones that grow to acceptance by the so-called experts. Like Man-made Global Warming.

coldwarrior on April 17, 2009 at 1:50 AM

GunRunner

Don’t confuse Ogabe with facts, you right-wing, homophobic, racist, sexist, militia-card-carrying rabble-rouser. We are preparing a cot for you in our reeduca…er, joy-joy summer camp where life is wonderful all the time and you’ll be happy to see those nice young men in there clean white coats….

SKYFOX on April 17, 2009 at 7:52 AM

Opromta repeated it yesterday.

Akzed on April 17, 2009 at 9:06 AM

Opromta repeated it yesterday.

Akzed on April 17, 2009 at 9:06 AM

What’s that old tactic…repeat the lie often enough and it becomes accepted truth?

coldwarrior on April 17, 2009 at 9:15 AM

of the guns that can be successfully traced by the ATF or FBI from the guns sent to them by Mexican authorities,

Gee, I wonder if maybe the Mexican authorities only ship guns to the US to be checked if they already have a reason to believe the gun came from the US. Is some circles that’s called a “biased sample”.

taznar on April 17, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Diane Sawyer led the news with 95% on Wednesday! Truth doesn’t matter to these folks! Fortunately, more and more people are turning them off and coming to places like this to find the truth for themselves!

PastorJon on April 17, 2009 at 4:39 PM