When Julia Sweig, the Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), released her memorandum on how to reduce gun violence in the United States and Latin America, it revealed not only the CFR’s blatant disregard for Americans' Second Amendment rights but also Sweig's proclivity to use outdated and widely discredited statistics to make her case for more restrictions on those rights. She also used flawed logic and outright falsehoods:
The flow of high-powered weaponry from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean exacerbates soaring rates of gun-related violence in the region and undermines U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.
This is Exhibit A: that “high-powered weaponry” flows in unrestricted torrents directly from gun owners and gun shops and gun shows into the hands of criminals across the border. Here is her proof:
Over 70 percent of the ninety-nine thousand weapons recovered by Mexican law enforcement since 2007 were traced to U.S. manufacturers and importers.
She sounded very much like California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who said in a Senate hearing: “It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors … come from the United States.” Or like William Hoover of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) when he testified that “there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to, Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States.”
But as William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott from Fox News reported, “There’s just one problem with the 90 percent ‘statistic’, and it’s a big one: it’s just not true.” As they explained, in 2007 and 2008, some 29,000 weapons of various types and varieties were recovered at crime scenes by Mexican authorities. Of those, only 11,000 of them had serial numbers on them that would allow them even to be traced by the BATFE. And of those 11,000, just 5,114 were successfully traced back to sources in the United States. That’s 17.6 percent, not 70 percent or 90 percent. Put another way, more than 82 percent of the weapons found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the United States.
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