Sunday, April 19, 2009

On "Traced" Mexican Guns

I posted this comment on AR article, "The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come from US"

Those weapons “traced back” to the U.S., to whom, pray tell. They’re obviously not coming from Bubba’s Gun Shack or any other retail outlet or Homeland Security, the DEA, BATF, FBI, The State Dept., State and local police, HCI and the media would all be there the next day. Someone (sorry I don’t remember the site) speculated recently that many were from weapons supplied to the Mexicans by the USG, as military aid, diverted or stolen. Who knows ain’t saying, but I would be very surprised if any legitimate, federally licensed dealer is ever even indirectly linked to any of these weapons, and it would be child’s play to determine who the manufacturer and wholesaler sent them to.

Now I’m really curious how far back they traced; if their systems are so disconnected or incompatible they can’t even keep track of the info that they already have (which I don’t believe to be the case) or they don’t want to release the info for “reasons of national security”, that is, something that would embarrass or incriminate themselves.
I would like to know the results of the trace. Who were the last Americans to own these guns. “Remington shipped serial # xxxx to U.S. Dept. yyyy on zzz date”. Show me the money, I mean, bill of lading. Put up or shutup, already, Hoover and Co.

Then I read in an unrelated article about the pre-existing (to this issue) law that makes it illegal to divulge the trace information EXCEPT for Law Enforcement or National Security purposes, so they get to release the data or not as whatever fits their purposes.

From the NRA
"For more than five years, cities suing the gun industry and anti-gun organizations have sought access to confidential law enforcement data on firearms traces. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) compiles these records when it traces firearms in response to requests from law enforcement agencies.

Every year since 2003, the U.S. Congress has passed increasingly strong language to keep this information confidential. The legislation—a series of "riders" to the appropriations bill that funds BATFE—is widely known as the "Tiahrt Amendment," after its sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.)."

Now, putting my tinfoil hat on backwards, I assert that the prohibition on release of data is a good thing unless it is used by the government to avoid proving their allegations, especially if the Tiahart amendment was designed to protect "officers, informants, and other witnesses", and further, that "every year since 2003" this has been the main purpose of the amendment rather than the protection of innocent gun manufacturers and merchants. Holder & Co are merely playing the cards they have been given, in pursuit of their own goals, but it might be more trouble to pursue this strategy if someone forces the release of the data. Otherwise their assertions are no more valuable than mine.

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