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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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January 15, 2011

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Sylvia,
Muchas gracias por su valor! Taking the bull by the horns on this issue, and it's about time somebody in law enforcement stood up, I applaud your courage!

Even if the law stands, which I doubt, it's hard for me to see it as effective. Hypothetically it would reduce straw purchases of multiple gun sales in those four states but what it doesn't do is stop the inevitable increase in straw purchases of multiple gun sales in states not covered by the law, such as Nevada, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Is it so hard to imagine the same traffickers who ferry drugs well into the interior of the US could do the same with gun purchases in states a few hundred additional miles into the US?

Silvia I’m not entirely sure why you have chosen this argument ( guns going into Mexico) for your electronic soap box here? All of your preaching on the subject seems to be more directed toward supporting one of the more corrupted governments of the world, while at the same time directing insults to your fellow countrymen who apparently view our second amendment differently than you, and Mexico do? Silvia you make a weak argument supporting such an infringement , and at the same time inadvertently lay bare the reasoning WHY the NRA so staunchly stands against such seemingly benign infringements. I’ll simply thank you for that, because I doubt if much I would say could change your view.

Fred


In my old age, I have come to support gun control. I don't mind some guns, a shotgun at home for protection, for instance. I see no reason a young person in this country should have a pistol with an extended clip. There is no argument for it. Drugs are more of a problem than guns. Drugs take a tremendous toll on the United States: deaths, money, health, lack of productivity. If you want the United States to the be the flagship of the world that it once was, eliminate drugs and senseless violence. I commend you for this website and for you efforts toward at least one of those goals. I fully support your stance here on at least some regulation of guns at the border.

Fred, Fred, Fred;

Sylvia is alert and responsive to the times in which we live. Do you seriously not think we live in much different times than Americans did in 1791? Are you and your "neighborhood militia" going to present any defense when the traffickers come rolling across the border in numbers? The NRA stands firmly against reasonable control of firearms and only in defense of the billion dollar industry they represent and cares little for your "rights" or "Right".
It is time to wake up to reality!

1. By it's own admission, ATF has overstated the "trafficking" problem and deliberately mislead Congress and the American People. Between 2008 and 2010, ATF quoted 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the United States. In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a draft report critical of Project Gunrunner, followed by a final version in November, 2010. The OIG analysis of ATF data shows, of the guns submitted for tracing, a much lower percentage of guns (about 27 percent) traced to the United States. These percentages significantly differ from those in ATF testimony before Congress

When confronted with the OIG analysis, ATF then admitted to the OIG that the 90% figure cited to Congress is misleading. During this 2010 review by the OIG, ATF could not provide updated information on the percentage of traced Mexican crime guns that originated in or imported through the United States.

2. ATF's proposed reporting is overly broad and vague. Rather than "a very narrow group of long guns" as ATF stated, the proposed rule includes a huge number of guns unlikely to be trafficked. Instead of specifying the guns ATF keeps saying are the problem (AK47, AR15, .50 caliber, etc.), they have included a huge number of curio and relic rifles up to 100 years old of interest mainly by collectors, many ordinary hunting rifles, and many rifles chambered for obsolete ammunition no longer manufactured.

3. ATF's proposed reporting violates the Firearm Owners Protection Act:

a. By requiring these records be transferred to the United States Government, and

b. Creating an additional system of registration of firearms and firearm owners.


"No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary's authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation."

4. Once reported to ATF, these proposed registration records never go away, but will permanently remain in ATF databases at the National Tracing Center, and if traced, will be reported to corrupt Mexican police.

If a trace links to any of these records, even in error, many innocent American gun owners personal information (including name and address, height, weight, drivers license number, possibly Social Security Number, date of birth, place of birth, and all other guns linked to that last name and date of birth) will be reported with a trace. If your name is Smith (or Garcia in the Southwest), there are many people with the same date of birth!

5. ATF is attempting to exceed it’s authority to require reporting of rifles. 18 USC Section 923(g) explicitly gives ATF authority to gather information on multiple handgun sales, but not rifles.

6. ATF is violating 18 USC §926(b) which provides "The Attorney General shall give not less than ninety days public notice, and shall afford interested parties opportunity for hearing, before prescribing such rules and regulations." This is stricter than the Admin Procedure Act’s general provision for a "reasonable" comment period, and it has no emergency exceptions. ATF is only giving 30 days’ notice.

7. ATF will use violations of the multiple rifle sale reporting requirement to punish dealers. The proposed rule is vague (by not defining "greater than .22, etc.) and deliberately misleading. As a result, many law-abiding dealers will misunderstand and inadvertently fail to report some sales. These unintentional violations will be used by ATF in attempts to revoke dealers licenses.

8. ATF is attempting an "end run" around Congress. As expressed in a letter from Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg to the President, implementing ATF’s proposal will subject firearms dealers and their customers to:

a. New, onerous reporting requirements that will inevitably track and register the purchases of innocent law-abiding gun owners.

b. Congress authorized multiple sales reporting for handguns, but have never extended this authority to other types of firearms.

c. Expanding multiple sales reporting for rifles by executive decree would be an end run around Congress.

Sylvia:

ATF has overstated the Mexican gun problem - and deliberately tried to mislead Congress and the American people. They got caught at it by the DOJ Inspector General - and admitted it. It's fully documented.

ATF is now overreaching to gather registration records - not for so-called "assault rifles", but for ALL semi-auto rifles detachable magazine rifles, including 60-100 year old obsolete collectors items and normal hunting rifles NOT used by DTOs. ATF even wants sales info on guns that use obsolete ammunition no longer manufactured! Had ATF specifically asked for info on AR15, AK47, and AK74 rifle sales, then the proposal wouldn't be so objectionable.

The information gathered by the proposed multiple sales report will be used by ATF to report the buyer's personal information to corrupt Mexican police - even if the purchaser is completely innocent. This information will include Name & address, height, weight, date of birth, place of birth, driver's license number and possibly Social Security Number. All the info needed for identity theft. This is well documented.

If you have doubts, look at Wikipedia eTrace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETrace) for a full explanation and a copy of an ATF Firearm Trace Summary.

Further, since the Mexican legal system is based on "Guilty until proven innocent" principles, then a completely innocent American gun owner could land in a Mexican prison because he bought a couple of semi-auto rifles which were found in Mexico but were stolen from him (or he later sold - even to a dealer). This is a grave disservice to Americans by putting innocent Americans at risk.

"reasonable" is in the eyes of the beholder who would be either a politician or a bureaucrat. You may "trust" them but I sure don't.

Sylvia:

I've read your analysis again, and I fully agree with your statement: "We need to figure out SOMETHING to more effectively investigate criminals who are trafficking guns from the US into Mexico." The key word is "criminals" - not innocent gun buyers.

With the extent of your experience, I'm surprised you would advocate violating the law to investigate the issue. The proposed ATF reporting requirement is a violation of the law.

Before ATF implements something with far-reaching effects and unintended consequences, maybe the first step should be to step back and accurately analyze the issue - something which the ATF has been unable or unwilling to do. After getting caught reporting false statistics, ATF admitted it to the DOJ OIG. Is gun trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico as much a problem as ATF says it is? Or is it a pretext to increase ATF budget, staffing and prestige?

To use your words, I also think the ATF doesn't give a rat's behind about the consequences of reporting (as suspects) completely innocent American gun owners and dealers to corrupt Mexican cops, and calling the dealers who sold the guns "Criminal Friendly" dealers (ATF's words).

We have no sympathy with gun traffickers, and (contrary to media hype) gun dealers gladly work with ATF to identify actual traffickers. However, we also have no empathy with a federal agency which misleads Congress and the American People, and which violates the law to enhance their firearm tracing (registration) system.

"throwing around our Second Amendment rights like it spells out exactly what were entitled to when it comes to gun ownership."

The US Constitution does not spell out what we are entitled to. It spells out what the Federal Government is NOT entitled to. The federal government has NO authority to regulate any firearms. Our rights come from God and are defined by Natural Law, not some piece of paper or government.

Have you ever wondered why there were NO federal firearm regulations before 1934?

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