Mexico cartels go bargain gun shopping in Houston


According to ATF gun-tracing data, 90 percent of the traceable weapons used in Mexican drug violence originated in the United States with Texas, Arizona and California the largest suppliers.

Houston is further from the border, so weapons are cheaper there.


  1. I’m amazed that this tired old story still has legs.

    The 90% you reference is the percentage that the US agrees with the Mexican authorities about. The Mexicans find all types of weapons in Mexico, then they look the guns over and they find many guns that look to be from the US. Mexico sends the serial numbers of those that may indeed be from the US to US authorities.

    The US has determined that indeed 90% of those serial numbers the Mexicans send them are from the US.

    What you fail to mention, (why?) is that only17% of the total amount of guns the Mexicans find are from the US.

    Fear is what gives the drug war life and thus power to the cartels. Why are you spreading fear on behalf of the cartels? My radio audience would like to know.

    • What you fail to mention is that the article didn’t say anything about that 17% so how could I have referenced it?

      If you want to have a serious discussion with actual facts, then present them otherwise some might think you’re just pimping for your Black Helicopters radio show.

      > Fear is what gives the drug war life and thus power to the cartels. Why are you spreading fear on behalf of the cartels? My radio audience would like to know.

      That makes no sense. People are getting killed yet you imply the fear is illusory and should be ignored.

      • Fear of plants is what gives life, power, money and longevity to the drug war.

        Following the repeal of prohibition, the cartel violence will be diminshed, the street corner shoot outs over turf a memory and the spread of HIV and Hep C curtailed. The cartels cannot survive without fear, nor can the DEA.

        Mostly, I wanted you to stop spreading inaccurate information.

        • Wait…how is legalizing weed gonna cure HIV?

          As for inaccurate information, Bob is only passing along a Reuters story, a story that is very thoroughly researched and even vetted by the opposition (the National Rifle Association). So in order for you to accuse Bob of passing disinfo, you’d also have to assume that Reuters, the BATF, and the National Rifle Association are lying. That’s pretty far fetched.

          *fnord*We’re coming for you Becker*fnord*

  2. The referenced story continues the press’s (or someone else’s) policy of contradictory facts and confused statistics. First it says,

    “U.S. authorities say Mexican drug gangs, like Los Zetas, who act as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, now possess a sophisticated, high-powered arsenal that gives them the firepower to take on the Mexican army.”

    Then in the nest paragraph it says, “There’s also the AK-47 assault rifle…” which appears to be a blatant attempt to associate the AK-47 with that “sophiosticatred, high-powered arsenal” which anyone who’s ever used a semi-automatic AK knows is false– and a closer reading shows that’s not what it says at all.

    An AP article from April 20 (inexplicably unavailable online but I found a cached copy at says,

    “Stockpiles captured by Mexican soldiers show that warring traffickers are now obtaining military-grade weaponry such as grenades, launchers, machine guns, mortars and anti-tank rockets. Some drug gangs have even sought explosive material that some experts worry could be used in car bombs and improvised explosive devices of the kind used in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    THAT sounds like sophisticated weaponry– and not the kind that can be bought at a gun store, even in Houston.

    Now think about this: of all the countries in the world where arms can be purchased, including the U.S., Somalia, Pakistan, China, etc., from what sources would ATF be able to trace serial numbers? Just one. In all likelihood, only weapons manufactured in or passed through the U.S. are traceable, so the statement that 90% of traceable weapons originated in U.S. gun stores means virtually nothing.

    I have no doubt that there are a fair number of U.S. over-the-counter guns being used in Mexico– but I doubt that number is 90% of all guns used by the cartels. The guns you can buy in a gun store don’t offer the high level of sophistication claimed. And I sure wish we COULD get some unbiased numbers, because I think reporters on both sides of this issue are sensationalizing.

    And something more: California is listed as the third largest source of U.S. weapons, yet the Brady Center lists CA as having “the strongest gun laws” in the nation. ( Now first, that means we’re not talking AKs and Bushmasters because you can’t buy those in California. But second, if that level of gun control doesn’t stop the flow of guns to Mexico, what exactly are proponents of stronger laws asking for?

    • > so the statement that 90% of traceable weapons originated in U.S. gun stores means virtually nothing.

      So the families of those who have been killed by such weapons should just get a clue and quit complaining?

      As for what should be done, the end of the article hinted at just that. The US should stop being a primary arms merchant to the planet.

  3. “So the families of those who have been killed by such weapons should just get a clue and quit complaining?”

    That’s unfair. I’m saying that the reporters are using fallacious statistics, not that there’s no problem.

    It’s like saying that milk causes drug addiction because 99% of all junkies drank milk as a child. The statistic may be true, but it leads to an incorrect assumption that is at best unhelpful and at worst counterproductive (since the logical “solution” would be to ban milk, which will in reality have no effect on drug addiction while causing other porblems). And your response is like saying that because I say the milk statistic is irrelevant, that I’m therefore saying there’s no drug problem.

    The AP article goes on to say that a major source of arms for the Mexican cartels is Central America, where there used to be civil wars but currently aren’t. Some of those weapons DID originate in the U.S., but not in gun stores. Others originated elsewhere but were purchased by U.S. (or Soviet) agencies. Do you suppose ATF can trace those weapons back to their owners?

    So the pool of traceable weapons is a subset of the total pool of captured weapons. One of the previous commenters said 17%, less than 1/5, but I don’t have that figure myself. In any case, without knowing what percentage of the captured weapons are tracable, the 90% statistic means nothing.

    Yes, the U.S. is an arms merchant to the world, along with China, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and others. But again, the weapons it sells to governments and paramilitaries are generally NOT the same weapons you can buy in a gun store.

    So again: yes, there’s a problem. But fallacious statistics don’t help us understand it.

    • But your response to any even slight thought of more gun control and regulation is to, basically, do nothing. Some of the guns used to kill by cartels did originate in US gun stores. And that should that be cause for some alarm.

      Because the killings are spilling across the border, esp. into Tucson and Phoenix.

      • Au contraire: though I do believe in the Second Amendment, I do not believe it is unlimited. (I do not believe it gives me the right to have my own personal nuclear weapon, for example.

        But before infringing on it, it is critical to first ask: is infringement justified? For it to be justified, the problem must be significant, and the legislation must be both commensurate and helpful. While the problem is certainly significant, your sources themselves show that what is typically considered the goal of gun control– national “California style” legislation– is ineffective, since California is the third largest source of tracable weapons captured in Mexico. And, do we have any reasonable expectation that banning guns in the U.S. would stop the violence in Mexico? We do not, since the U.S. is just one of several sources (and we cannot even yet statistically determine how much of a source it is).

        Rather than adopting the same, tired old arguments, I suggest we need some new solutions. What causes gun violence in Mexico? Prohibition in the U.S. You’ve surely read about (and seen movies about) violence surrounding alcohol prohibition in the U.S. Yet do you see people shooting each other over the right to distribute alcohol today? Rarely.

        But neither the illicit drug industry nor the drug control industry want us to talk about decriminalization. There’s way too much money invested in keeping drugs illegal. What happened to the old rule of follow the money to find the real problem? As you are a frequent critic of corruption, I’m surprised you’ve been taken in by the anti-gun argument.

        • I’m not anti-gun. I’ve owned a .357 magnum. But I do question why private citizens should be allowed to own machine guns, as they are in some states. There is a middle ground here.

          As for drugs, yes, let’s legalize them.

          • Machine guns are heavily regulated and controlled by the Fed. That’s not where the machine guns in Mexico are coming from. That’s a separate and unrelated issue.

            Though under the second amendment, the question is not why should we be able to own a machine gun, but why should we not be able to. The answer is, we can as long as we pass a background check, pay a transfer tax of $200, and give the Fed the right to search our premises at their whim (giving up our 4th Amendment rights).

            Since the regulations were imposed (1934), there has been exactly one violent crime committed by a private citizen with a legally owned machine gun. That’s a pretty good track record.

  4. Men are responsibile for the vast majority of gun-related crime. Banning men, still an option.

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