But what about the other “anti-aircraft gun,” the Browning .50-caliber machine gun mounted behind a crude welded shield in the bed of a truck?
The gun is indeed .50-caliber and is obviously based on the M-2 Browning, but it isn’t a variant designed for an anti-aircraft role. Nor — according to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency (ATF) — is it a machine gun:
Mexican and U.S. authorities disagree on just what type of gun it was. Federal Police Coordinator Gen. Rodolfo Cruz maintains it was .50-caliber anti-air craft machine gun. ATF, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said it was an unmodified .50-caliber semiautomatic rifle made by TNW, a U.S. firearms manufacturer.
As it is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm’s (BATF) specialty to trace firearms and the serial number and other markings on U.S.-made firearms, let’s presume this organization is more likely to be correct than a Mexican police official.
TNW is TNW Firearms, Inc, a gun company with an interesting specialty: re-manufacturing WWII-era surplus machine gun parts into firearms that look like the originals but only fire as semi-automatic weapons. When cross-referencing the photo of the gun shown in the bed of the truck with the appropriate entry in the TNW product catalog, it becomes painfully obvious that while the gun did come from a U.S. manufacturer, it is not an anti-aircraft weapon or even a machine gun.
Interestingly enough, another re-manufactured semi-automatic firearm TNW builds is a 1919, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the first “anti-aircraft” gun mentioned that was also captured in the raid. It would not be all that surprising to discover that it is also a TNW-manufactured semi-auto. Neither TNW nor the BATF office in Phoenix would return calls or emails asking for more detail.
Mexican authorities are not fabricating the fact that weapons are flowing from the United States into Mexico, but they are exaggerating what kind of weapons they are recovering, either through ignorance or purposeful deception.
I’ll leave it to the reader to determine which is more likely.