The PJ Tatler

The Hill: '70 Percent of Guns Found in Mexico Are From the US'

The number is bogus, but that doesn’t stop the Hill from reporting, without questioning or analyzing, another round of phony numbers from the government:

Nearly 70 percent of all guns found in Mexico came from the U.S. over the past four years, according to data released by the federal government on Thursday.

More than 68,000 of the 99,691 firearms that were recovered between 2007 and 2011, and submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for trace testing, were either made in the U.S. or legally brought into the U.S. at one point, according to the agency.

Both gun-rights supporters and opponents have used the ATF’s numbers in years past to argue for their cause.

Indeed. There’s a whole scandal surrounding ATF and its gun numbers. It’s called Fast and Furious. There’s even a book about it. The Hill gets around to mentioning FnF at the end of its story, when that operation is at the heart of the debate over guns in Mexico.

As for the tracing numbers, they’re hard to get when most guns seized are never submitted for tracing: (h/t Tom Maguire)

We can find no hard data on the total number of guns actually “recovered in Mexico,” but U.S. and Mexican officials both say that Mexico recovers more guns than it submits for tracing. Therefore, the percentage of guns “recovered” that are traced to U.S. sources necessarily is less than 90 percent. Where do the others come from? U.S. officials can’t say.

Fox News has put the percentage of guns that have been traced to U.S. sources at only 17 percent, but we find that to be based on a mistaken assumption that throws its figure way off. We can’t offer a precise calculation because we know of no hard information on the total number of guns Mexican officials have recovered. But if a rough figure given by Mexico’s attorney general is accurate, then the actual percentage of all Mexican crime guns that have been traced to U.S. sources is more than double what Fox News has reported.

Which would put the number at 34%, not the 90% the Obama administration used to claim, or even the 70% it claims now. Still, by knocking 20% off the propaganda price the administration is at least moving in the right direction. Give Obama another five years and maybe the administration will move the number down some more.

Or, ramp it back up to give himself more flexibility to go after the Second Amendment.

When the Hill does get around to discussing Fast and Furious, it comes with curious omissions:

The ATF has come under fire over the past 16 months for a failed operation it conducted to try and stop the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico. Operation Fast and Furious authorized the sale of nearly 2,000 weapons in the Southwest border region to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels.

The operation’s theory revolved around tracking those guns through the hands of cartel members in an effort to dismantle the entire network. But ATF agents were not given permission or resources to follow the gun buyers, allowing the guns to disappear, with only the hope of recovering them later for tracing at a crime scene or police bust.

One of those crime scenes was the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two and maybe three Fast and Furious guns turned up in his killing, and Fast and Furious factored in the killing of ICE agent Jaime Zapata. The supposed target of Fast and Furious, Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta, was taken into custody more than once by ATF, only to be released.

None of that worth a mention, Hill?