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December 21, 2010

Media getting it wrong on Mexico … Again


With the recent move by ATF to require federally licensed firearms retailers along the Southwest border to report multiple sales of modern sporting rifles, and the corresponding objections from NSSF and NRA, many in the mainstream press are once again misrepresenting cartel-related violence in Mexico.

Here are the facts:

Most firearms being misused in Mexico do not come from the United States. In fact, according to ATF statistics, the average age of recovered firearms in Mexico is more than 14 years past the original date of purchase, a clear indicator that these firearms have not been recently purchased in the United States.  Furthermore, it has been well-documented (Washington Post, July 17, 2010) that drug cartels are illegally smuggling fully-automatic firearms, grenades and other weapons into Mexico from South and Central America. In addition, more than 150,000 Mexican troops have defected to work for the drug cartels – taking with them their American-made service rifles.

In response to concerns over the violence in Mexico, ATF has conducted nearly 2,000 inspections of firearms dealers along the border.  The result? Not a single dealer was charged with committing any crime and only two (or 0.01%) had their licenses revoked for unknown reasons that could have nothing to do with the cartels illegally obtaining firearms from retailers in the United States.

As we reported in Bullet Points yesterday, the push by ATF for multiple sales reports of modern sporting rifles will do nothing to curb crime. It will, however, make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground, hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

Of course the editorials won’t tell you that.