Friday, July 17, 2009

Still not getting it...

They're still going at it...

WASHINGTON — Less than half of an estimated 18,000 American firearms used in Mexico's drug wars over the last three years have been traced back to licensed gun dealers — suggesting most are stolen or bought at gun shows where background checks are not required, a federal law enforcement official told Congress on Thursday.
Bill McMahon, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Mexican authorities say they have seized an estimated 100,000 firearms from gangland-style drug cartels and have submitted 20,000 to ATF to trace their origins. Ninety percent of the 20,000 — or 18,000 — were manufactured, imported or sold in the United States, McMahon said.
And only 44 percent, 7,900 of those weapons were traced back to retail transactions at federally licensed gun dealers in the United States, McMahon told members of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., chair of the House subcommittee that oversees border issues, said the country needs to honor constitutional protections for gun ownership while closing the so-called gun show loophole that permits sales at gun shows without the paperwork and background checks required for firearms purchases at federally licensed gun dealers.
Republicans including Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and Michael Rogers, R-Ala., emphasized that few guns seized in Mexico have actually been traced back to the United States.
McCaul noted that some military-style weapons reaching Mexican cartels via Central America were manufactured in Russia or China.

Now, did you see that? Out of 100,000 firearms, we only have data on 20,000 of them. I sure do think it'd be interesting to see what the trace results on those other 80,000 firearms would be. Assuming they had serial numbers to be tied to a paper trail, that is. I do love how they put McCaul's and Rogers' assertions at the back end of that story where it was least likely to be read by many, or discounted as not so important. And you know that many will discount what they say, as we don't have the full trace data to tell the tale. I seriously have to wonder why that is. no doubt many would say that's too much work for the ATF, but considering there were over 1.2 million background checks done in the month of April alone, I just don't buy that.
I also thought it was quite interesting to see the California representative talk about protecting constitutional rights while expanding the background checks as opposed to advocating for another semi-auto rifle ban as many in her delegation would do. Of course she probably recognizes what Senator Feinstein laments here -- that the NRA has a "stranglehold" on Congress and that talking of putting another ban in place would be futile. I'd bet on that before I'd bet on a California Democrat giving a damn about anybody's rights, but then maybe that's just me.
And, a final thought -- 44 percent of those 20,000 weapons were traced back to FFL retail transactions? You mean to tell me the Brady check and laws prohibiting straw buys failed THAT badly? Wow.