Tuesday, March 19, 2013



US firearms to Mexico ?

Note: Another "study" Not to forget that information on firearms
and other weapons recovered in Mexico is suppressed. Especially
make, model and serial numbers. Not to forget also, the many
thousands delivered to Mexican government (and then to drug gangs)
via aid programs of U.S. government.

253K guns smuggled to Mexico annually
11 hours ago • Tim Johnson Mcclatchy Newspapers

MEXICO CITY - Some 2.2 percent of all U.S. gun sales are made to
smuggling rings that take firearms to Mexico, a scale of illegal
trafficking that's "much higher than widely assumed," an academic
study released Monday found.

An average of 253,000 weapons purchased in the United States head
south of the border each year, according to the study by four
scholars at the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute and
the Igarape Institute, a research center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Profit margins at many gun stores are razor thin, and thousands of
U.S. gun vendors would go out of business without the illicit traffic
to Mexico, said Topher McDougal, an economist educated at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is one of the study's authors.

The study's conclusions are likely to add to controversy over what
role U.S. weapons smugglers play in Mexico's drug violence. Mexican
officials have long blamed lax gun laws in the United States for the
availability of weapons in Mexico, which has only one gun store and
considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right.

The value of the annual smuggling trade is $127.2 million, says the
study, "The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the
U.S.-Mexico Border."

The traffic is reflected in the disproportionately high number of
federally licensed firearms dealers along the U.S. side of the
border, said Robert Muggah, another of the four scholars. Of the
51,300 retail gun shops in the United States that hold federal
licenses, some 6,700 of them are concentrated in the four U.S. states
that border Mexico, Muggah said. On average, there are more than
three gun dealers for every mile of the 1,970-mile border between the

"The Mexican demand explains that abundance and the successful nature
of the business," Muggah said.

Another key indicator of the U.S. influence over gun availability in
Mexico is the fact that many killings in Mexico are carried out with
handguns, not the high-powered assault weapons that garner much of
the attention related to the country's violence.

"The vast majority of deaths arising from violence in Mexico are
from .38s or that caliber of handgun," Muggah said. "It just so
happens that the largest market for .38 Specials is the United States."

The scholars said their study was the first "empirically robust"
effort to "estimate the total flow of arms" heading south from the
United States. The authors said they had determined the likely
traffic to Mexico by a complex statistical formula that measured how
close a federally licensed dealer was to the Mexican border, then
factored out likely local legal demand, based on population and income.

"These findings suggest that the United States is a significant,
albeit unintentional, contributor to the global black market in arms
and ammunition (and specifically in Mexico)," the study says.

Some 2,200 U.S. manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and parts
produce a total of 4.2 million firearms a year, the study says. One
in every four U.S. citizens owns a firearm, it adds.

Mexico's sole gun store, operated by the Defense Secretariat in
Mexico City, sells largely .38-caliber or smaller firearms and only
to those who obtain licenses first.

Even so, members of organized crime have amassed a growing arsenal of
outlawed weapons, including 9 mm pistols, .38-caliber "super"
pistols, .45-caliber pistols, AR-15 and AK-47-type assault rifles,
grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the study notes.

Mexican police and soldiers have seized some 140,000 weapons since
2006, when former President Felipe Calderón deployed soldiers and
federal police units to contain violence between crime groups and to
hunt drug lords.

A soaring homicide rate cast a cloud over much of his six-year term.
Some 120,000 homicides occurred while he was in office, and at least
60,000 of them appeared to involve criminal gangs, the study says.

Not all weapons in Mexico come from the United States, the study
says, noting that "alternative sources" are suggested by the
discovery of "a wide variety of non-U.S. weaponry … including Soviet-
era RPG-7s, Korean fragmentation grenades, M60 machine guns, Chinese
TK-56s and others."

The authors said a series of factors - such as sales from gun shows
and private dealers - made their estimates, if anything, low.


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