Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Myth of 90 Percent

There is a good news article, complete with attributions, regarding the pervasive talking point that "90 percent of illegal guns in Mexico" come from the United States. The true number seems closer to 17 percent.

Check out the article here: The Myth of 90 Percent

Here are a couple choice tidbits from the piece:
  • "In a remarkable claim, Auturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., said Mexico seizes 2,000 guns a day from the United States -- 730,000 a year. That's a far cry from the official statistic from the Mexican attorney general's office, which says Mexico seized 29,000 weapons in all of 2007 and 2008."
  • "The Mexican government said it has seized 2,239 grenades in the last two years -- but those grenades and the rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) are unavailable in U.S. gun shops. The ones used in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey in October and a TV station in January were made in South Korea. Almost 70 similar grenades were seized in February in the bottom of a truck entering Mexico from Guatemala."
  • "Why would the Mexican drug cartels, which last year grossed between $17 billion and $38 billion, bother buying single-shot rifles, and force thousands of unknown 'straw' buyers in the U.S. through a government background check, when they can buy boatloads of fully automatic M-16s and assault rifles from China, Israel or South Africa?" (Indeed!)

So where are the Mexican drug cartels getting their guns? They're coming from the exact sources you would expect--if you've been reading the paper for the last decade: China, Korea, the Russian mafia, FARC, Guatemala, and the Mexican military itself. Surprise, surprise.


brian r said...

Thanks for posting this Zak. I have done a bit of research on this myself and found the same info. I thought something was a bit fishy when I kept reading and hearing about the Cartels in Mexico having these battles and using full auto firearms. Something wasn't adding up there with the info that we keep getting from the media about these guns coming from the USA and being purchased in gun stores and such. I have read that many of the guns are also likely coming from Pakistan (I think) where they apparently manufacture clones of guns such as M16's.

Zak Johnson said...

Here's an update on this from the L.A. Times: Drug cartel's new weaponry means war.

Apparently grenades and IEDs--like those used against our soldiers in Iraq--are fast becoming the drug cartel's weapons of choice.

brian r said...

Well, they are effective!!!