GOVERNMENT REPORT FAULTS US GUN OWNERS FOR MEXICO'S VIOLENCE
NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
June 21, 2009
© 2009 NewsWithViews.com
[On Friday, June 19, 2009, the Government Accountability Office released a report to the US Congress regarding the so-called firearms problem in Mexico. NewswithViews.com studied the report for the following news story.]
"[This report may be] used in a phony attempt to show that the ban is needed. It even may be used as part of an outrageous attempt to argue that Americans have to give up some of their Second Amendment rights to an international authority so that international trafficking in firearms can be properly and efficiently regulated,” warns gun rights expert John Snyder.
While the United States continues to allow borders to be left unprotected, the US Congress through its investigative arm -- the Government Accountability Office -- is blaming the violence occurring in Mexico on American gun owners.
“For some time now, gun-grabbing spokesmen have been trying to use the virtual war in Mexico between drug cartels and responsible law enforcement personnel as a wedge issue excuse to seek limitations on the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms,” says John M. Snyder, named recently the senior rights activist in Washington by Shotgun News.
“This latest report seems it could be part and parcel of this ongoing attempt,” he continues. “The report states ‘available evidence indicates a large proportion of the firearms fueling Mexican drug violence originated in the United States,’ as though guns are akin to gasoline and somehow their presence can set off gang activity the way gasoline can set off the family automobile. Don’t these people realize that somebody’s got to turn on the ignition?”
As a result, the latest GAO report released on Friday, June 19, laments the alleged lack of information on gun purchases by US citizens and even faults a lack of background checks conducted on citizens making private firearms sales for the violence and death occurring south of the border.
"This report is really affirming the information received by the professional gun grabbers at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In fact, it uses numbers provided by the ATF without questioning where those numbers came from to begin with," says Lt. Stephen Rodgers, a police commander who favors the Second Amendment.
"My fear is that the Obama Administration will create a phony 'crisis' in order to justify violating the rights of citizens to own and bear arms, a constitutional right that sticks in the craw of the liberal-left power structure in this country," adds Rodgers.
The GAO claims that evidence indicates a large proportion of the firearms fueling Mexican drug violence originated in the United States, including a growing number of increasingly lethal weapons.
While admitting it is impossible to know how many firearms are illegally trafficked into Mexico in a given year, over 20,000, or around 90 percent, of firearms seized by Mexican authorities and traced over the past 5 years originated in the United States, according to data from DOJ's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
However, observers believe that the "90 percent" figure is based on information provided by a foreign government that relies on the US for millions and millions of dollars in aid each year in fighting the so-called war on drugs.
“There’s just one problem with the 90 percent ‘statistic’ and it’s a big one: It’s just not true. In fact, it’s not even close. The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the US, ” said Snyder, who also serves as an advisor to the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Federation of Police.
"A large part of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the US," he added.
The GAO report goes on to state that "around 68 percent of these firearms were manufactured in the United States, and around 19 percent were manufactured in third countries and imported into the United States before being trafficked into Mexico." According to US and Mexican government officials, these firearms have been increasingly more powerful and lethal in recent years.
The report also states that our "government faces several significant challenges to its efforts to combat illicit sales of firearms in the United States" and to stem the flow of these arms across the Southwest border into Mexico. That section of the GAO report has inflamed the passions of many conservatives including political strategist Mike Baker.
"Suddenly the [GAO] report jumps to the true intention of the federal government: controlling firearms owned by American citizens. Remember, originally Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama bandied the number '95 percent' of firearms in Mexican gang possession came from the US, at least until people started asking where they got that figure," said Baker.
"These people aren't concerned with border violence. If they were we'd have more Border Patrol agents with more authority to stop the illegal alien invasion and crime wave," Baker said.
The GAO report goes on to state that "certain provisions of some federal firearms laws present challenges to U.S. efforts, according to ATF officials."
Then the report lists three major concerns of federal officials: (1) restrictions on collecting and reporting information on firearms purchases, (2) a lack of required background checks for private firearms sales, and (3) limitations on reporting requirements for multiple sales.
This section is flawed according to gun rights experts who believe there are more gun laws throughout the nation than is necessary.
"There are thousands of gun laws throughout the United States. In fact, Americans are out-and-out confused because of all the restrictions and paperwork involved in purchasing a firearm. You have state laws and federal laws... you have to practically be a lawyer to understand all the laws involved in gun ownership," said New Jersey gun rights activist Don Graham, a former police officer himself.
"This GAO report is a smokescreen to be used to turn American citizens against gun owners while characterizing Mexican criminal aliens as the victims," said Graham.
Another challenge found by the GAO is the lack of government agency coordination. ATF and Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the primary agencies implementing efforts to address this issue, do not consistently coordinate their efforts effectively, in part because the agencies lack clear roles and responsibilities and have been operating under an outdated interagency agreement.
"It's almost laughable. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is practically ignoring the flood of illegals entering the US and working illegally throughout the country, but the government wants her to get involved in gun control with an agency [the ATF] that has used deadly force against the American people such as happened in Waco, Texas during the Clinton Administration," states Mike Baker.
While the Obama Administration has returned to treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem -- including placing barriers between intelligence and law enforcement agencies wishing to share information -- these same government leaders want cooperation between ICE -- which is charged with enforcing immigration law -- and the ATF -- which is charged with enforcing regulations regarding alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco, firearms, and explosives.
"Once again, while worrying about foreigners' and illegal aliens' rights, the feds want ICE and the ATF to join forces against law-abiding citizens who only wish to own firearms for protection and sport. This is indicative of repressive government working without having to worry about exposure by a left-wing news media," warns Graham.
The GAO states that "this [report] has given the United States the opportunity to provide Mexican government counterparts with some technical and operational assistance on firearms trafficking.
However, US assistance has been hampered by a number of factors. In particular, U.S. law enforcement assistance has been limited and, furthermore, it has not targeted arms trafficking needs."
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"[This report may be] used in a phony attempt to show that the ban is needed. It even may be used as part of an outrageous attempt to argue that Americans have to give up some of their Second Amendment rights to an international authority so that international trafficking in firearms can be properly and efficiently regulated,” warns Snyder.