Last September, a report released by Colby Goodman and Michel Marizco, “U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico: New Data and Insights Illuminate Key Trends and Challenges,” helped revive the by-then badly battered myth that the September 2004 expiration of the federal “assault weapons” ban had the made commercial gun market in the U.S. a hugely important source of guns for the Mexican drug syndicates. Here, despite all the demonstrable problems with the claim that “80% (or 90%, or even 95 to 100%) of seized “crime guns” in Mexico came from U.S. gun shops (or worse yet, gun shows), was a “scholarly report” that repeated not only the “80%” claim, but put a total number on it: 60,000 guns, over a three-year period:
In May 2010, for example, the Mexican government, which has received training from ATF to better identify firearms, said that of the 75,000 firearms it seized in the last three years about 80 percent, or 60,000 firearms, came from the United States.
Game, set and match to the “blame the ‘gun lobby'” crowd, the forcible citizen disarmament lobby must have thought. Indeed, the Brady Campaign was on it within days, with Paul Helmke writing in the Huffington Post:
Violence in Mexico has increased since Congress allowed the federal assault weapons ban to expire in 2004. And a study just released by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the University of San Diego matches Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports, which confirm that a significant number of the guns used in Mexican drug crimes come from America.
Dennis “What People?” Henigan was not far behind, with his own Huffington Post piece:
According to a new report, U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico, by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the University of San Diego Trans-Border Institute, of 75,000 firearms seized by the Mexican government in the last three years, about 80%, or 60,000 firearms, came from the United States.
Let’s not forget the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), who as recently as April 7, cited the study as “an excellent compilation of data on firearms being trafficked” to Mexico.
Except that the “excellent compilation” had the same serious problems that all the other claims of “[some very high] percent of crime guns recovered in Mexico came from the U.S.”–it ignored the huge difference between guns recovered, and guns submitted for tracing, and successfully traced. I pointed that out here at St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and also on my blog, where I included links to the debate I had with one of the study’s authors, Colby Goodman, in the comments responding to Henigan’s Huffington Post piece.
And now Mr. Goodman himself seems to have recognized those problems. I mentioned that briefly here last week, and blogged about it last week, noting that Fronteras quoted Goodman as having found serious problems with the numbers we have been given:
“Claims by Mexican and U.S. officials that upwards of 90 percent of illegal recovered weapons can be traced back to the U.S. is based on an incomplete survey of confiscated weapons,” the analyst wrote.
Colby Goodman is an arms trafficking expert and security consultant in Washington. He says the information on seized guns was inconsistent.
“Duplicates, multiple duplicates or it was lacking a lot of basic information that ATF would need to trace it back to the purchaser in the United States,” Goodman said.
And now, Goodman’s new study (pdf file) is available. In it, he goes into more detail about the double-counting (and sometimes up to quintuple-counting) that distorts the numbers of firearms involved:
In some cases, ATF has received information on the same firearm up to five times as Mexican police, a crime lab, the military, and the Attorney General’s office all write down information on the same firearm, and the individual in the Attorney General’s office in Mexico City submits trace requests on all of them.
That’s just one of the many problems cited in Goodman’s new report, with the credibility of the numbers of recovered Mexican “crime guns.”
Goodman also talks about all the firepower coming from south of Mexico (something we most recently discussed here):
U.S. military officials also report that more than 50 percent of the military-type arms such as mortars, hand grenades, and grenade launchers discovered in OCGs [Organized Crime Groups] caches have crossed into Mexico most recently from Central America.
Finally, Goodman also refers to “Project Gunwalker,” describing it as “perhaps the most worrying” problem:
Perhaps the most worrying from the Mexican government’s point of view, however, is ATF’s Fast and Furious Operation based out of Phoenix, Arizona, which reportedly allowed hundreds of firearms to be sold to potentially known traffickers as a way to build more attractive cases for U.S. Attorneys and ATF did not notify Mexican authorities.
Goodman is no friend to private gun ownership in the U.S., and clearly isn’t trying to be (he enthusiastically supports mandating–without even a law being passed–reporting of multiple rifle sales), but he might find himself no longer so gleefully quoted by the “gun control” groups, now that he’s no longer toeing the “80%” line, and has dared to implicate “Project Gunwalker” as part of the problem.
- Mexican drug cartels do not need U.S. gun shops in order to arm themselves
- Do U.S. government arms exports play a part in arming Mexican cartels?
- Why the silence on what percentage of Mexican ‘crime guns’ are traced?
- BATFE to be silent about percentage of Mexican ‘crime guns’ traced Continue reading on icedjamb.com: BATFE to be silent about percentage of Mexican ‘crime guns’ traced
- Mexican drug cartels not getting THOSE through any ‘gun show loophole’
- WikiLeaks cables: Mexican military have ‘little faith’ in police
- Ordnance crossing into Mexico over border—its southern one
- U.S. general says scores of millions of guns in Mexico from Central America
- U.S. State Department is major arms supplier to Mexican drug syndicates
- “Wikileaks Cables Show U.S. Had Little Idea How Many Weapons Were Being Trafficked into Mexico.”
- Author of study quoted by ‘gun control’ groups singing new tune
- A journalist’s guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part One
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker-Part Two
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Three
- Official Correspondence on the Project Gunwalker Scandal.
- Sharyl Attkisson’s stories on CBS