Lott’s Mexico

Dr. John Lott had a new piece in the Wall Street Journal this week about Mexico’s extremely high murder rate despite its strict gun control laws.  

Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal

The figures Lott quotes are staggering:  with almost six times as many murders per 100,000 people as in the U.S., Mexico has a serious problem.

By all accounts the problem may be of their own making.  As highlighted in the Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Mexico’s strict gun control measures began in 1972 ostensibly to control violence.  Presently only 1% of Mexicans possess a license to own a firearm, obtaining a permit to legally carry a pistol is unheard of and private sales are for all practical purposes forbidden yet since 1972 the murder rate has doubled! 

While addressing how many of Mexico’s crime guns come from the U.S., Dr. Lott explains why the 70% figure cited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is grossly exaggerated. He points out that number is a select subset of a select subset and the actual number may be closer to 17%.

Furthermore, it appears evident the bulk of Mexico’s crime guns, often fully-automatic, are cartel supplied and originate in Central and South America or other international locations.  Once again, it is evidenced that when strict gun control laws leave the general population unarmed, vulnerable, and powerless, criminals will feel emboldened.  Layer onto this a history of military and police corruption along with a powerful cartel presence and you have the perfect recipe for out of control criminal violence.  

She Approves Of Dead Mexicans, Gun Running, And Murdered Federal LEOs

Hillary Clinton is one of the most shameless politicians of this era or any era. If an endorsement or ad will get her just one more vote, she’ll go for it. It doesn’t matter if the person making the endorsement was the most partisan, the most contemptible, the most brutally corrupt Attorney General since the founding of this Republic. A man whose fingerprints were all over an operation to run guns to Mexican cartels so as to build support for gun control. A man who was found in Contempt of Congress. A man who said he supported voting rights but dismissed charges of outright voter intimidation against favored groups. A man who used the Department of Justice as a shakedown machine against corporate America.

Of course, I’m referring to former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Living in western North Carolina, 3/4’s of our broadcast TV comes from the Upstate of South Carolina. I was watching Jeopardy! last night when the ad below came on with Holder’s endorsement of Hillary. The two themes pushed were gun control and voting rights. These are themes that play well with black voters and Hillary needs to lock down the black vote to stave off Bernie Sanders.

Who cares if the endorser and his minions were responsible, directly or indirectly, for the murders of two Federal law enforcement officers, the deaths of a minimum of 300 Mexican nationals, and the arming of Mexican drug cartels through smuggled guns?

Hillary doesn’t. All she cares about is getting one more vote.

It Had To Be Those Gun Shops Along The Mexican Border!

The World Tribune is reporting that thieves broke into a Kuwaiti Interior Ministry warehouse and stole the entire contents.


The Interior Ministry said thieves broke into a warehouse and stole a
huge amount of firearms and ammunition. The ministry said 20,000 U.S.-origin M-16 assault rifles and 15,000 rounds for 9mm pistols were stolen.

“There were no guards during the break-in,” the ministry said on April
7.

The ministry said the target was a warehouse of the Interior Ministry in
Subiya. The statement said thieves broke three doors and removed the entire contents of the warehouse.

Of course, one wonders where these M-16s will now show up. If it is Mexico, will the Obama Administration still blame the mom-and-pop gun shops along the Southwest border?

Mexico Wants A Registry Of US Border State Gun Owners?

When I first read the story in The Blaze saying that the Mexican government wants the United States to compile a registry of all firearms owned in the Southwest border states, I had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. The Mexicans believe such a registry will make it easier to track firearms found at crime scenes in Mexico.

The story originated at the website InSightCrime which track organized crime in the Americas. From their story published in January:

Mexico’s Congress voted to formally ask the United States Senate to create a registry of all commercialized firearms in the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Although the motion will have little impact in the US, it shows the gun control issue continues to resonate on both sides of the border.

The measure was approved January 9 by Mexico’s Permanent Commission, the government body that meets when the Senate and the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, is in recess.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) senator who introduced the proposal said it was intended to make it easier to trace guns used in violent attacks, reports Mexican newspaper Informador.

KPHO – CBS 5 in Phoenix – followed up on this story and asked Arizonans what they thought of it. As you can well imagine, not much.

CBS 5 – KPHO

As to my opinion on the Mexican government’s request, I would suggest they track the firearm diversions from their own army as well as those coming from their southern border.

More On The Unsealed Indictment

ABC News had footage from today’s press conference with US Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura Duffy. She is the lead prosecutor in the murder prosecution of the six Mexican nationals charged with Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Given the involvement of the US Attorney’s Office for Arizona in Project Gunwalker, outside prosecutors had to be brought in.

While it has been rumored for a long time that the Border Patrol Agents responded with less than lethal ammunition (beanbags), I believe this is the first time the government has confirmed it. To me, this is the equivalent of taking a knife to a gun fight.



David Codrea has a different take on the unsealing of the indictment in his National Gun Rights Examiner column today.

Noting indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury in November, 2011, and the men are still at large, it would seem fair to ask what information Justice has to to be confident they have not automatically condemned the suspects—and that word is key—to violent deaths, whether they are entrenched in Mexico or hiding in the U.S. from ruthless gangs who ignore borders as a matter of course?

If the unsealing somehow forces the suspects in from the cold, the gamble with their lives will have paid off, but that assumes they are still alive and they are guilty. If they are instead caught first by the cartels, the adage “Dead men tell no tales” will certainly fuel further speculation among those who don’t believe the government has been forthcoming about its role in a deadly operation that has already claimed known and untold lives, an unfortunate but logical consequence of earned mistrust.

I think David brings up some very valid questions. I would be surprised if they are ever found, alive or dead.

The Mexican Ambassador Can Go Screw Himself

When the ambassador of a neighboring nation disparages our Second Amendment rights and our commitment to them, in my humble opinion, he can go screw himself. The Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, suggested today that our concerns about his country’s attempts to denigrate our Second Amendment rights is “gobbledygook”.

In a slap at gun-rights advocates, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. dismissed accusations that Mexico is seeking to undermine the Second Amendment in order to curb the influx of U.S.-purchased guns.

“There is an urban myth out there that somehow the Mexican government … is seeking to lobby against and destroy the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment,” said Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan. “This is gobbledygook.”

He also praised the Obama Administration’s multiple rifle purchase reporting requirement in the Southwest border states but then said that the cartel’s will just look elsewhere.

Well, duh! They have already looked elsewhere and that elsewhere is your own army as well to Guatemala and quite possibly Chavez’s Venezuela.

If you would like to give the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from the Republic of Mexico a piece of your mind, the Embassy’s phone number is 202-728-1600 and you can send an email through this form on their website.

According to the article, representatives from the NRA and NSSF didn’t take his comments lying down.

Sarukhan was making excuses for Mexico’s failure to curb police, judicial and military corruption that undermines its pursuit of the cartels, they said.

“There’s finger-pointing at America but no mention of the corruption so pervasive in Mexico,” said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association, when asked for reaction to Sarukhan’s comments.

“Restricting the Second Amendment rights of Americans is neither an option nor a solution to Mexico’s internal crime problem,” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

There Are No Coincidences

Yesterday, the BATFE held a briefing for the media on the results regarding traces of firearms recovered in Mexico. Reporters that attended this briefing were not allowed any cameras, recording devices, or video equipment. They were only allowed pen and paper to take notes. Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com tweeted after the event that the moment they got into the briefing they were given a flash drive with the statistics.

The data released show that 68% of the guns submitted for tracing originated in the United States. Note that is only the guns submitted by the Mexican government. Moreover, as Larry Keane of NSSF pointed out in a tweet early this morning, no mention is made of the “Time to Crime” stat. Thus, you don’t know if the “recovered” firearms traced are ones from Operation Fast and Furious or from a burglary in El Paso in 1997.

The BATFE released this yesterday regarding the briefing on the traces.

ATF Releases Government of Mexico Firearms Trace Data

WASHINGTON – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today announced the release of trace information for firearms recovered in Mexico and submitted to ATF for tracing. Trace information shows that between calendar years 2007 and 2011 the Government of Mexico recovered and submitted more than 99,000 firearms to ATF for tracing. Of those firearms more than 68,000 were U.S.-sourced. More complete information will be available on the ATF website.

U.S.-sourced firearms are guns determined by ATF to be manufactured in the United States or legally imported into the United States by a federal firearms licensee. Since 2007, trace data shows a trend in recovered and submitted crime guns from Mexico shifting from pistols and revolvers to rifles. Law enforcement in Mexico now report that certain types of rifles, such as the AK and AR variants with detachable magazines, are used more frequently to commit violent crime by drug trafficking organizations.

ATF is working with its law enforcement partners at every level and the Government of Mexico to keep firearms out of the hands of gang members and criminal enterprises. The Mexico trace data is the result of information provided by the Government of Mexico to ATF about crime guns recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing.

Firearms tracing provides information on the movement of a firearm from its first sale by a manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify the first retail purchaser. This information provides investigative leads for criminal investigations.

The Mexico trace data is not the result of any criminal investigation, or investigations, initiated by law enforcement in the United States.

ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. The NTC provides critical information that assists domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking and identify trends with respect to intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns. The NTC traced more than 319,000 crime guns in calendar year 2011.

ATF is dedicated to reducing firearms trafficking and firearms-related violent crime on both sides of the border.

ATF will also release trace information for firearms recovered in Canada and the Caribbean and submitted to ATF for tracing between calendar years 2007 and 2011.

SayUncle had a post yesterday about how the multiple-long arm reporting requirement for the Southwest border states has now resulted in 123 investigations being started in south Texas. This came from an article on Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the ATF emphasized the use of ARs and AKs “with detachable magazines” by the narco-terrorists in their press release.

Yesterday, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) had an amendment adopted to the FY13 Commerce, Justice and Science House Appropriations Bill which “would prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) from using federal funds to track the purchases of gun owners who buy multiple rifles within a certain time period.”

From Rehberg’s statement on his amendment:

“While President Obama and his allies in Congress continue to undermine the Constitution, and infringe on our gun rights, I’ll keep fighting to ensure those rights are upheld,” said Rehberg, a member of the Second Amendment Task Force. “The ATF continues the effort to implement new gun control regulations without the approval of Congress, and, tragically, those efforts have included breaking our own country’s laws with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program. My amendment tells the Obama Administration that Congress will not tolerate this.”

The ATF regulation, first proposed in December of 2010 and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on July 11, 2011, requires federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) to file reports with ATF on all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines. The requirement applies to dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but could be expanded to other states using the same obscure regulatory process used to create the rule. Information gathered from the dealers will be kept in a federal database for two years. While Congress passed legislation in the 1990s to allow ATF to track multiple-sales of handguns, they did not intend to expand this regulation to include long guns.

I also think it was no coincidence that BATFE held their press conference as Rep. Rehberg was working to amend the appropriation for their agency which would remove their ability to force FFLs in the Southwest to make reports on certain gun sales. The congressional liaison for BATFE (or more appropriately, agency lobbyist) would have known of these hearings and of Rep. Rehberg’s intent to offer his amendment which did pass.

Nothing happens without a reason in Washington. The BATFE press briefing may be seen as a counter-attack on the critics of that agency for both Project Gunwalker and the Administration’s attempt to use regulatory fiat as a gun control measure.

UPDATE: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had this to say in a release about the data given out by BATFE yesterday.

“Thorough gun statistics are hard to come by and tricky to interpret. The key to this data is that most of these guns can’t be traced to U.S. gun dealers. And, some of those would actually trace back to the United States because of the federal government’s own gunwalking scandal. We also have to remember that the only guns Mexico is going to submit for tracing are guns they know are from the United States, which clearly paints an incomplete picture of the firearms found in the Mexico.”

Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com who did attend the press briefing has a full report on it here. It seems some of her questions were not able to be answered (or they said they didn’t have the data).

UPDATE II: Larry Keane, General Counsel of NSSF, has a blog post up entitled “The Shrinking ‘Vast Majority’: NSSF Responds to ATF Mexican Trace Report.” It dissects the BATFE report and how some politicians and some in the media have played it up.

On the 90% myth:

But it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that many of the firearms recovered and traced come from the United States. That is because U.S. law requires markings on firearms precisely so they can be traced by law enforcement through commerce. It is sort of like tracing the VIN number on cars on a Ford dealership lot and be surprised to learn that most are Fords. What the 90 percent myth does not account for, and the media turns a blind eye to, and what yesterday’s ATF report does not shed light on, is the fact that you know nothing about the firearms recovered in Mexico but were never traced — like the firearms that the 150,000 or so Mexican soldiers took with them when they defected to go work for the drug cartels over the past several years.

On Time to Crime:

Perhaps what is most interesting about ATF’s report is the fact that it does not discuss the “Time to Crime” (TTC) for the Mexican traced firearms. ATF always gives TTC when it issues a tracing report (click here for an example). Why did ATF omit this piece of information? Because it knows that on average firearms (of all types) recovered in Mexico and successfully traced were on average originally sold at retail after a background check more than 15 years ago.

Diversion Of Legally Exported Firearms To The Narco-Terrorists

Sharyl Attkisson has a report this morning on the legal commercial sales of firearms to the Mexican government and specifically the Mexican Army. All of these sales must be (and have been approved) by the U.S. State Department before any manufacturer is allowed to ship the guns to Mexico.

The reported number of AR-15s sold in 2006 was 2,400. By 2009, in the first year of the Obama Administration, the number of semi-automatic firearms sold to Mexico was 17,169 plus another 1,361 full-auto firearms. The 2009 figures come from the Department of State’s Section 665 Report to Congress. As Attkisson notes, the Department of State has stopped disclosing the actual number of firearms sold. Checking the FY 2010 report, I find that she is correct and that the State Department just lumps everything into one category which could include anything from a firearm to its firing pin. I find it illuminating that as the drug war intensifies om Mexico and the Obama Administration is making a push to “stop the iron river of arms” going to Mexico that they now stop reporting just how many legal arms are being sold.

The problem as Attkisson points out is not the legal sales of firearms to the Mexican Army, it is the diversion of these weapons from the Army to the narco-terrorists. When a poorly paid Private deserts from the Mexican Army, it has become commonplace for his issued weapon to desert with him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t then become stashed under the floorboards in his home for defending the wife and kids but rather goes to the cartels for a significant sum of money.

Ed Head made this same point in an interview with Cam Edwards of NRA News last week. The Obama Administration would have you believe that the arms going to the cartels are coming from border-state gun dealers. They want you to ignore the man behind the curtain or, in this case, the legal sales of firearms that are being diverted from the Mexican Army.

Attkisson reports that the State Department audits a very small percentage of the sales. Of those that it audited, it found that 26% of the firearms had been diverted or some other unfavorable result. Larry Keane of NSSF agrees that the State Department and the Mexican government need to provide better oversight of these firearms once they are in the hands of the Mexican Army. He is correct when he asserts that this is beyond the scope of what the American firearms industry can do.

About That 90% Claim

Julian Assange may be a creepy pervert but the State Department documents being released through WikiLeaks are providing some valuable insight about arms trafficking and seized firearms in Mexico.

Mike Vanderboegh has a post on Sipsey Street Irregulars about a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to the State Department, DOJ, and many other U.S. agencies. The unclassified cable sent on October 28, 2009 has a subject heading of “MEXICO ARMS TRAFFICKING: ACCESS TO CONFISCATED WEAPONS, A NECESSARY STEP MEXICO”. After much discussion of how Mexico stores and catalogs confiscated weapons and how their court system treats the information, there is an acknowledgment that the claim that 90% of weapons found in Mexico originated in the United States is incorrect.

¶6. (SBU) Comment. 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. In point of fact, without wider access to the weapons seized in Mexico, we really have no way of verifying these numbers.

So given this, why do Obama Administration officials including the new Acting Director of ATF continually repeat a claim that has been proven false in more than one venue?

Are These The Only Guns That DIDN’T Walk To Mexico?

Late last week, ATF issued a press release in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. It concerned eight men who were sentenced for their participation in straw purchases of firearms that were to be smuggled across the Texas border into Mexico.

To somewhat paraphrase Sean Sorrentino, are these the only guns that didn’t walk to Mexico?

Members of Ring Convicted of Lying to Buy Firearms Bound for Mexico Sentenced

McALLEN, Texas — Eight members of ring convicted of lying to buy firearms bound for Mexico have been sentenced to prison terms, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

United States District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Juan Manuel Barrientos–Lopez, 29, an undocumented alien from Mexico; Andres Alvarez, 24, of Alamo, Texas; Armando Bravo II, aka Peanut, 22, Romulo Longoria, 21, Greg Palacios, 19, Ruben Ramirez III, 20, all of San Juan, Texas; as well as Alan Ramirez, 20, and Michael Anthony Salazar, 20, both of McAllen, to varying prison terms for their roles in a straw purchasing scheme to acquire firearms bound for Mexico. All eight men pleaded guilty on various dates in March and April 2011 to lying on the ATF Form 4473 when they falsely represented themselves to be the “actual owner” of varying types of automatic weapons they were buying for another earlier this year.

The charges and subsequent convictions are the result of an investigation initiated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after Alvarez purchased multiple AR–15 type rifles in June 2010. Through their investigation, agents learned that Alvarez had been recruited to make the firearm purchases by Bravo because, as convicted felon, Bravo is prohibited by federal law from possessing much less purchasing a firearm. It was later discovered that Alan Ramirez, when he realized that Bravo could not purchase firearms, allegedly recruited Bravo to recruit other straw purchases. Alan Ramirez also recruited Salazar. In addition to his role of a recruiter, Alan Ramirez personally straw purchased 19 firearms for Barrientos–Lopez. Barrientos–Lopez, who was found to be the head of the straw purchasing ring, was present in the United States illegally could not possess let alone purchase firearms. In an attempt to satisfy the orders for firearms placed by Barrientos–Lopez, Bravo then recruited Ruben Ramirez, Palacios and Longoria. Bravo obtained cash for each of these “recruits” to purchase the firearms then paid each of them approximately $200 for each firearm they purchased.

Barrientos–Lopez, originally charged by criminal complaint in October 2010, was taken into custody following a high speed chase after straw purchased firearms had been delivered to him. The other seven defendants were named and charged in various counts of a 14–count superseding indictment returned by a grand jury in January 2011. All eight defendants pleaded guilty to lying to buy a variety of semi–automatic firearms at federally licensed firearms dealers in McAllen, Mission and/or Pharr, Texas, between May and October 2010.

At today’s hearing, Judge Crane held Barrientos–Lopez, as the organization’s head, responsible for the purchase of a total of 38 AK–47 and AR–15 type rifles purchased by the ring and sentenced him to 60 months, the maximum sentence allowed by law, in federal prison. Alvarez was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment, while Bravo received 60 months. Longoria, Palacios, Alan Ramirez and Salazar were each sentenced to 30 months while Ruben Ramirez was sentenced to 33 months. With the exception of Alan Ramirez, who has been permitted to remain on bond until the issuance of an order to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on September 6, 2011, all other defendants have been in custody since either arrest or conviction.

All have been further sentenced to serve a 3–year–term of supervised release upon completion of their prison terms. Barrientos–Lopez is subject to deportation upon release from prison due to his illegal status in the United States.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Schammel.

 As a postscript, I have received my Gunwalker T-shirt from Sean and I can highly recommend it. The shirt is substantial and the printing job is first-rate.