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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.


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April 19, 2009


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Please consider the type of weapons being collected. Most are full auto, military weapons. They use hand grenades, full auto weapons, MILITARY tools, not what you find at gun shows. This type of weapon requires a special tax stamp to transfer. You can't transfer a machine gun "in the driveway" in Texas w/o first making sure that the recipient has a valid transfer document, a document that is registered with BATF. Sure, there are military weapons moving South from the US, but its not the weapons owned by civilians that the DTOs are buying. They aren't buying true assault weapons at gun shows. This is very misleading and focuses on the wrong end of the weapon buying spectrum. Please rethink the civilian sourcing idea.

Thanks for your comment! I don't know if I agree that MOST firearms used by DTOs are full-auto military-grade weapons. According to the USDOJ's Project Gunrunner fact sheet, "ATF has analyzed firearms recovered in Mexico from 2005-2008 and has identified the following weapons most commonly used by drug trafficking organizations: 9mm pistols; .38-caliber revolvers; 5.7mm pistols; .223-caliber rifles; 7.62mm rifles; and .50 caliber rifles." Even the .223 and 7.62 can be easily purchased (what California calls copycat assault rifles, like the Bushmaster XM-15). Firearms with those calibers CAN be purchased at gun shows and gun shops in the US, and can easily be modified later to military specs. I do agree that the LAW rockets, RPGs, frag grenades, etc. are not coming from the US, but rather other Central and Latin American countries and the Mexican army's own stock. I'm in contact with the ATF on almost a daily basis, so that's where I get my thoughts about the civilian sourcing - it is a big problem, and it's not going to stop any time soon.

I realize this is an old post, but there is one fact that needs to be brought out.

The only guns that can be traced are U.S. manufactured guns or guns legally imported into the United States. There are no other tracing systems in the world.

When it is said of the seized and traced Mexican guns, 90% of the guns "that can be traced" came from the United States, this statement is simply silly. If the guns don't come from the United States, they can't be traced. Period.

And the ATF can only trace 90% of the guns that came through the commercial market in the United States? With all the ATF required records and commercial records maintained by dealers, ATF could only trace 90%? And how many millions of tax dollars have been spent on the National Tracing Center and eTrace?

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