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Lies and Statistics


Obama gave a speech in Mexico City recently.  He called for reviving the federal assault weapons ban and "more strictly enforcing existing gun laws" in an effort to fight drug violence in Mexico.  This follows on comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Holder, and others.  All of them used the same number -- 90% -- when referring to the number of guns seized in Mexico and traced to the US.

That number is a lie.

Many bloggers questioned it and Fox News definitively exposed it.

But they have continued to use the same number, and that tells me that the Obama adminstration has not gone off-plan; they had this messaging campaign planned from the very first comment and are still working from the original plan.  Ignoring dissent and commentary is not out of character for this administration.

Politifact asked a Mexican security consultant about the figure:
Alberto Islas, a security consultant with Risk Evaluation in Mexico City, said the 90 percent figure is based on an incomplete sample. Mexican officials only require ATF traces of guns used in "high impact crimes," he said. That certainly includes crimes involving violent drug cartels. That's the sample from which the ATF derives its 90 percent statistic. Driving up that percentage, Islas said, is the fact that nearly all of the handguns traced by ATF come from the U.S., Islas said, while assault weapons are more of a mixed bag - some come from the U.S., but others come through drug routes in Eastern Europe, Africa and elsewhere.
This is a more reasonable view, and it contains an important bit of new information: if guns are coming from the US, those guns are typically handguns (which US citizens have a Constitutional right to keep and bear, per the recent Heller case) rather than "assault weapons".  And it makes the Obama's administration's push to renew the assault weapons ban a deliberate political ploy to take advantage of the massive levels of violence in Mexico, rather than an honest attempt to do something about a problem.

"Never waste a crisis."   

This entry was published 2009-04-21 11:09:35.0 by matthew@triggerfinger.org and last updated 2009-04-21 11:09:35.0. [Tweet]

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