A Washington Post blogger tells readers “How America Exports Its Gun Problems,” citing an article published in the American Political Science Review. That article in turn recycles old (and debunked) “evidence” for the claim that the horrific violence in Mexico (and elsewhere) is a direct consequence of U.S. gun laws being inadequately draconian.
The main thrust of the American Political Science Review’s article is that the meteoric rise in drug cartel carnage in Mexico coincided with the expiration in 2004 of the federal ban of so-called “assault weapons” in the U.S.:
This article addresses both the methodological and substantive gaps within the literature. We do this by exploiting a unique natural experiment that enables us to examine how an exogenous change in access to arms affected violent crime in Mexico over 2002–2006. We focus specifically on the 2004 expiration of the U.S. Federal Assault Weapons Ban (FAWB), which lifted the prohibition on domestic sales of military-style firearms in America. We identify effects on homicides in Mexico using the resultant cross-border spillover on gun supply, which is important given the extent of gun trafficking across these two nations.
For starters, the temporal link between the “sunset” of the AWB, and the huge spike in Mexican violence is rather weak, as this column noted long ago:
For one thing, the dramatic spike in drug cartel violence started in 2006–two years after the expiration of the ban. From a chronological perspective, a much stronger correlation can be drawn between the massively escalating violence and Calderón’s assumption of office in 2006, followed ten days later by his implementation of Mexico’s version of the “War on Drugs.”
More damning still is information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showing that between the years 2006 and 2010, the average “time to crime” (time between a gun’s purchase and its criminal use) of Mexican crime guns traced back to the U.S. was 15 years, which would put the purchases of most of these guns squarely in the time period in which the U.S. AWB was in effect.
Another problem with this claim is that the “assault weapons” ban effectively banned not guns, but features, and with a very modular platform like the AR-15, so-called “military features” can be added and removed easily, which is why the Violence Policy Center so shrilly claimed that the AWB was not nearly oppressive enough to be effective, because gun manufacturers so easily complied with the ban by making only cosmetic changes.
The California legislature clearly agrees with this column’s assertion that so-called “military features” are not a useful indicator of how “deadly” a firearm is, or they would not have expanded their definition of “assault weapons” to include every semi-automatic, detachable magazine-fed rifle, with or without such features.
The article predictably perpetuates the “90% of Mexican crime guns are traced back to the U.S.” meme, without making any effort to explain the enormous difference between “90% of all guns seized,” and “90% of all guns submitted to the BATFE and successfully traced,” a point even some of the loudest voices behind the “90%” figure eventually had to concede:
“Claims by Mexican and U.S. officials that upwards of 90 percent of illegal recovered weapons can be traced back to the U.S. is based on an incomplete survey of confiscated weapons,” the analyst wrote.
Colby Goodman is an arms trafficking expert and security consultant in Washington. He says the information on seized guns was inconsistent.
“Duplicates, multiple duplicates or it was lacking a lot of basic information that ATF would need to trace it back to the purchaser in the United States,” Goodman said.
The article did very briefly touch on the fact that many of the cartel’s weapons entered the country from the south, relics of U.S. foreign policy in Central and South America of providing arms to whatever side the administration at the time deemed to be “allies,” no matter how odious they were–but attached very little importance to this factor.
Another entirely predictable omission is any mention of the good being done with “illegal guns” in Mexico–perhaps the authors would prefer that these courageous women face the drug cartels unarmed.
As for mentioning “Project Gunwalker,” in which the Obama Department of “Justice,” under Attorney General Eric Holder deliberately sent guns into the hands of Mexican cartel gunmen–fuhgeddaboudit.
Widespread support for restrictive gun laws in the U.S. depends on a misinformed public being fed a steady stream of lies. Unfortunately, the government, mass media, and agenda-driven academics are feeding them a river of them.
- Mexican warehouse exposes gun grabber cartel lies
- Do 90% of Mexican ‘crime guns’ come from U.S.?
- The continued retreat from the ‘90%’ claim regarding U.S. guns in Mexico
- Mexican president criticizes U.S. gun laws–again
- Mexican President Calderón–and Reuters–still blame U.S. ‘gun lobby’ for violence
- A journalist’s guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part One
- More evidence of guns pouring into Mexico–from the south
- Government hiding numbers of guns LEGALLY sent to Mexico, diverted to cartels
- CA proves ‘assault weapon’ bans have nothing to do with ‘military features’
- Weapons Of War On The Streets