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  • President Calderon's Misleading Claim

    Mexican President Felipe Calderon

    In his speech before a Joint Session of Congress yesterday, President Felipe Calderon of Mexico made a bold claim. He asserted that:

    Just to give you an idea, we have seized 75,000 guns and assault weapons in Mexico in the last three years. And more than 80 percent of those we have been able to trace came from the United States — from the United States.

    The media immediately picked up on this claim. As Reuters summarized the President’s remarks:

    [He] said more than 80 percent of [the guns] came from the United States

    Except that, of course, was not what the President said. The President included a crucial qualifier in his statement: he was referring only to the guns that Mexico has (with U.S. assistance) been able to trace. And in that context, the President’s claim is correct: he was referring to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluding that, of the guns seized in Mexico and given to the ATF for tracing from 2004 through 2008, approximately 87 percent originated in the U.S.

    But this number says nothing about the percentage of guns seized in Mexico that originated in the U.S., because the U.S. does not trace the majority of guns seized in Mexico. Figures like “87 percent” sound impressive, but actual numbers are more illustrative. According to the GAO, the number of guns seized in Mexico that have been traced back to the U.S. has ranged from 5,260 in 2005 to 1,950 in 2006 to 3,060 in 2007 to 6,700 in 2008.

    Thus, if the “last three years” the President mentioned are 2007, 2008, and 2009, only 9,760 of the guns seized in those years – the total of 2007 and 2008 – definitely came from the U.S. The U.S. share for 2009 has not yet been reported, but even if it doubled the total of 2008, the U.S. share for all three years would be less than a third of the 75,000 seizures in Mexico. A more realistic U.S. share is between 20 and 25 percent.

    The argument the President made today has been refuted again and again, but it is not surprising that he relied on it. The only surprising fact is that the President couched his remarks in the context of a request for an ‘assault weapons’ ban, instead of in the context of support for the OAS’s Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials, commonly known as CIFTA.

    Perhaps this is a tactful admission that the Convention is seriously flawed. But if the President was trying to be tactful, he might have omitted his argument that the U.S. faces an incipient armed rebellion unless it acts on his request. The basic fact is that Mexico’s problems are fundamentally homegrown. It may be politically convenient for the President of Mexico to claim U.S. responsibility, but in the form he presented them today, those claims are regrettably misleading.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to President Calderon's Misleading Claim

    1. Harry Schell says:

      It is clear that the gangs prefer AK47/M16 class automatic weapons and explosives, but these are not coming from the US, they can't, unless via theft from military supplies.

      Hugo Chavez has a factory turning out full-auto AK47's. Millions of AK's are available on the black market. Grenades have to be coming from some military source, or the black market.

      The bleating about a new AWB for the US as a solution for Mexico is abdication by Calderon, theater by Obama Junior and a factual hoax. Hardly the first one Junior has taken up in his short time as POTUS, but no better than any of them.

      Junior's aspiration to be our Hugo Chavez is showing through all too well, and is getting tiresome.

    2. Glenn / CA says:

      How many of the weapons seized are military weapons sold to Mexico by the United States and then, through corruption, wound up in the hands of the drug cartels?

    3. West Texan says:

      Texas is unique because of its shared history with both the U.S. and Mexico. The Republic of Texas formed as a result of an abusive relationship with the Mexico's central government. A growing situation Texans face today with the the current U.S. congressional leadership and administration. President Felipe Calderon is simply playing into Obama's blame the U.S. for Mexico's internal problems. Although a beautiful and interesting country, I personally avoid crossing into Mexico. My reason is not because of increased drug violence, but rather Mexico's suppression of individual freedoms like recognizing people's right to keep and bear arms. What I'd like to share with both Mr. Calderon and Obama is that guns are not the problem, it's malevolent criminal behavior and corrupted government officials. Go ahead Mr. Presidents, join together in blaming guns to divert folks on both sides from the truth.

    4. James E McMullen III says:

      Obviously, the only cash cows for Hugo is weapons and drugs. But then who is going to object in the international community when most bow to the alter of the East River in New York City.

      We know where both Barry and Phillpe stand when it come to our southern border. They are just going along the the United Nations to remove weapons from the hands of liberty loving people. Intimidation is the weapon of their choice. I pity the poor soldier wearing the blue beret or any of them who feel they will have to follow the directive to confiscate the only weapons a free people have against tyranny.

    5. Thermo says:

      The gun problem is not a US problem. It is a Mexican problem.

      If the President says that the drug problem is the US' fault because wehave a demand for the drugs, then the gun problem is a Mexican problem because they have a demand for guns.

      He can't have it both ways. You can't blame the user in one situation (and not the producer) and the producer in the other.

      Stop being a hypocrite. It is either one or the other.

    6. Lew Richards says:

      This misguided president from Mexico was nothing but a puppet of our very inept and dangerous president Obama. America is in great Danger from our very own White House

    7. Lew Richards Palm Ba says:

      This very misguided president from Mexico was used as a puppet by our inept and dangerous president Obama. America is in very great danger!

    8. ADS, Washington says:

      I don't understand your claim that just because only a fraction of the guns seized have actually been traced that the percentage of guns from the U.S. goes from 80% to 25%. Here we have a random sample that gets traced and it turns out that 80% come from the United States. Wouldn't it figure that the percentage closely holds to the rest of the weapons that are not traced?

    9. Eric Rasmusen, India says:

      How many of the guns traced back to the US would have been banned by the "assault weapons" law? Any?

    10. Mike says:

      who has access to mexicos' actual immigration laws that are being talked about on all of the major radio talk shows. I'm having a difficult time finding something to substanciate their claims.

    11. James N. Gibson, Lon says:

      First, we get news reports on CNN and the regular MSM channels in which we hear people talking for a renewed effort for gun control.

      Second, Bloomberg comes out with a formal request in a Congressional hearing on the Times Square Bomber calling for gun prohibition since the bomber left a gun in his getaway car.

      Third, we hear that Michael Bellesiles has a new book coming out in which the advertisements say he was swiftboated in 2001-2002 and that his original research was correct. Makes me wonder what new twist he is going to put on the story of 1877 (like if it wasn't for all those guns from the civil war there wouldn't have been the violence that year is known for since prior to the civil war gun ownership was rare).

      And now Fourth, Calderon coming to Congress calling for a new AWB and other gun controls. And Obama just happens to be in support. Does anyone other then me smell a rat; and I don't mean the one that ran by Obama's WH podium recently.

    12. Uncle Lar says:

      Back in the 70s I would sometimes help out in a small midwestern gunshop. Every year the Mexican American workers in the nearby steel mill would come in and clean us out of our more inexpensive handguns. This always occured shortly before the yearly mill shutdown for maintenance which was when they drove back home for vacation. The guns went with them for friends and family who, without political connections in Mexico, were prohibited from buying firearms. Today this practice would set off alarms as straw purchases, but back then was winked at since the purchasers all had valid Illinois FOID cards so were legal buyers. These are the guns the Mexican government is tracing back to the US, the ones confiscated from citizens, not the full auto assault rifles flowing into cartel hands from their own army or international smuggling traffic.

      As for Calderon, the mark of a truly accomplished liar is to tell true facts that together make listeners create a lie within their own heads. Stating total guns confiscated then following that with percentage of trace guns linked to the US is one such lie.

    13. Pingback: President Calderon’s Misleading Claim

    14. Kenneth Adams Dallas says:

      The Mexican cartels can get their weapons, anywhere in the world they want too. They hardly need to shop in America, and a great deal of what they possess is available only from governments and international arms dealers, not American gun shops. I have no doubt that some of the armament is also being supplied by the corrupt Mexican police and military.

      I have to question the weapons tracing assertion, also. As an example, any Colt M16 or M4 is ultimately traced back to the US because Colt, the manufacturer, is based in the US. That doesn't mean that the actual purchase source was in the US, as these weapons are sold to governments worldwide. Using Calderon's logic, he should then want us not only to reinstate the assault rifle ban, but also close down Colts Manufacturing.

      Calderon's statement: "[I]f you do not regulate the sale of these weapons in the right way, nothing guarantees that criminals here in the United States with access to the same power of weapons will not decide to challenge American authorities and civilians." is also bogus. Americans armed with the very weapons Misters Calderon and Obama would like to deny us, would make short work of any criminals challenging us. That is why we have the Second Amendment, so that "we the People" can deal with those kinds of situations.

    15. Rich Rostrom says:

      ADS: you presume that the subset of seized guns that are traced is a random sample of all seized guns. This is almost certainly false.

      Guns manufantured in the United States are far more likely to be traced than guns manufactured in Russia, or ex-Yugoslavia, or South America, or Asia.

      Likewise, guns owned in the U.S. are more likely to be traceable later on than guns traded elsewhere. The streets of Beirut, Caracas, and Johannesburg swarm with gun-wielding criminals.

      Finally, Mexico has problems with gangsters wielding fully automatic weapons. Full-auto weapons are tightly controlled in the U.S., and very expensive here (several thousand $ each).. But literally millions of full-auto AK-47s are available in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Just about every guerrilla band has them. They cost about $200 each. Where is the real source of Mexico's problem? Not the U.S., and when Calderon and Obama claim it is, they're lying.

    16. HerbM says:

      Along with the fact that we don't know what percentage of the 80% are actually guns transferred with the permission of our government, everyone needs to be reminded that the 20% of guns CHOSEN to be submitted for check can be visually identified as being manufactured or distributed by US firms.

      They would not be tracing these unless they looked to be US firearms — then of that 20% or so which are CHOSEN for checking, many of those are likely lost, stolen, or bought from the Mexican military.

      Once someone understands this — it is still important to point out that automatic weapons are practically NEVER from civilian sources in the US.

    17. Tyrone Slothrop, the says:

      Calderon is 100% correct, and I have the program that will clean up this whole mess lickety-split!

      1) Interdict all weapons heading across the border into Mexico.

      2) Hand them out to US citizens living within 15 miles of the border.

      3) Teach those citizens to shoot running targets

      All problems solved!

    18. Harvey, California says:

      ADS, the reason the real number is probably 20-25% is that the Mexican government only asks BATFE to trace the guns that they think might have come from the US. They aren't asking them to trace M16s and AK47s, because those full auto weapons aren't coming from the States. It is not a random sample that is being traced.

    19. G-Man, Chesapeake, V says:

      Freedom Loving Americans,

      Congress knows how bad our border issue is, please check out the report they published in October 2006 entitled "A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border (web address included)." Once you read this report it will tighten your jaw that the Democrats in Congress gave President Calderon a standing 'O'! Let's hold them accountable this November!



    20. Barbarat, Missouri says:

      Why did Obama run for president here in America…seeing how he hates our country so much…is this his way of paying us back for the problems of the african american many years ago….he needs to realise he is more white than black…he was raised by white grandparents…the black parent abandoned him. If he loves socialism so much then why does he not go and try to run one of the socialist countries and get our of our America. Let him go to Mexico and ruin that country…he wont have to change much there.

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    23. Pingback: Yet Again, Media Exaggerates Scale of Gun Smuggling from U.S. Into Mexico | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    24. Pingback: Yet Again, Media Exaggerates Scale of Gun Smuggling from U.S. Into Mexico | The Conservative Papers

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