Friday, April 24, 2009

More ATF misleading about source of Mexican guns

Fox News' Greta van Susteren interviews ATF, who mislead about source of Mexican guns:
Fox News reporter Greta Van Susteren recently interviewed ATF agents about the surging violence in Mexico. The ATF is partially repsonsible for enforcing America's gun laws, and recently much of their work has been devoted to stopping the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico. According to the ATF spokesperson interviewed, while the military-grade machine guns used by Mexican drug cartels are being imported from Central America, "the predominate amount of weapons we see are being purchased here [the U.S.] and being traffic to Mexico." [emphasis added] ...

In the videos, notice the very subtle way the ATF agent misleads the viewing public, by stating that "the predominate amount of weapons we see are being purchased here [the U.S.] and being traffic to Mexico." Well, given that the ATF only has enforcement jurisdiction in the U.S., should we really be surprised that most weapons the ATF seizes were purchased here in the U.S.? Or that the guns that the Mexican government sends to the ATF for tracing (likely only a small percentage of the total guns recovered, and an even smaller percentage of total guns in Mexican criminals' hands) are only those whose type and markings would indicate that they may have originated here in the U.S.?

And how many of the guns submitted by the Mexicans to ATF for tracing, and successfully traced to U.S. sources, were traced to non-retail (gun shops, gun shows) sources? In other words, how many were traced to U.S. law enforcement or U.S. military sources (e.g., via theft or via official arms transfer to the Mexican government -- we give them a lot of stuff), and direct commercial sales, approved by the U.S. government, to the Mexican military or other agencies of the Mexican government? That's important information that I haven't seen in any of the press reports I've read. If a large percentage of traced guns aren't coming from retail sources, then common sense would tell us that we shouldn't focus all our efforts on retail channels. And obviously if traced guns were originally legally imported into Mexico via a U.S. government approved arms sale, or U.S. government military aid, then focusing exclusively on the retail channels isn't going to solve the problem.

In addition, while in the video the agent notes quickly and almost in passing that the machine guns the ATF is demonstrating aren't coming from U.S. gun shows or gun shops, that doesn't stop the ATF from showcasing a whole bunch of full-auto firearms that can't be legally purchased by "ordinary" citizens (excluding the relatively small number of transferable Class III full-auto capable weapons available). So the impression given, when taken in conjunction with the agent's misleading "predominate amount" comment, is to present a misleading image of full-auto guns flowing from U.S. gun shops and gun shows into Mexico. Without knowing firearms and the issues involved, that's certainly the impression I would have gotten.

Unfortunately, Ms. Van Susteren does not appear at all knowledgeable about firearms, and thus cannot ask any tough, substantive questions to challenge or expose the agent's subtly misleading responses and statements, or to clearly emphasize for the audience that such full-auto weapons being demonstrated aren't entering Mexico via purchases in U.S. gun shows or gun shops. Or to note for the audience that the AK-47 and M-16 fire a round that's ballistically less powerful than typical deer hunting rifles. Or that the typical deer rifle will punch through concealable soft body armor like that shown in the video just as easily, and with more energy, than rounds from an AK-47 or M-16.

The government is doing its best to mislead the public in order to push its gun control agenda. Sadly, Ms. Van Susteren and Fox News appears to be an unwitting accomplice to such government shenanigans. we need to figure out a way to educate the few fair-minded media folks out there on basic firearms issues, technology, and terminology, so that they can ask tough questions and challenge misleading statements and outright lies that so often spew forth from anti-gun politicians and government officials.

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