We keep hearing the same handful of Democratic politicians – Obama, Holder, Napolitano, and the most irrationally zealous anti-gun pols in the House and Senate – claim that between 70-90 percent of the weapons used by Mexico’s drug cartels come from the United States. Typically, that claim is made in conjunction with calls for more stringent gun control.
It works like this.
100,000 guns are recovered from the cartels by Mexican authorities.
Of those weapons, 20,000 have markings or identifying features that indicate they either came from the United States or transited the United States. These 20,000 are submitted by Mexican authorities for tracing to the US government.
The other 80,000 are stored in a series of Mexican Army warehouses, where they await classification to be reused by the government, destruction, or all too often, resold to the cartels by corrupt military or government officials.
Of the 20,000 submitted to the ATF for tracing, 17,000, or 85% of those submitted, are confirmed as coming from the United States.
The Administration uses the 17K of 20K to claim “85% of weapons submitted for tracing come from the U.S.,” which is factually true, but presented in such a way as to make people believe that 85% of the cartel’s guns came from the U.S., when it is just 85% of 20%.
It is a devious trick, especially considering that of the 17,000 in our example, the majority are military weapons from U.S. government sales to foreign military forces in South and Central America over the past 50 years, and only a small fraction of the total came through civilian gun shop direct purchases via straw buyers.
We now know that even that small percentage of straw-purchased guns was doctored by Operation Fast and Furious and 9 other alleged operations in five states (according to CBS News) that provided thousands of those weapons, possibly as many as 20,000+ total if Fast and Furious is a representative program in terms of weapons provided (2,000+).
Put bluntly, the U.S. government is the number 1 supplier of cartel weapons originating in America that show up in Mexico, including the claimed “civilian” gun shop purchases “walked” under DOJ orders in the past few years.