The “Gunwalker” scandal: More interesting Wikileaks info

I was just looking at this summary of various Wikileaks documents at the Mexican news site LaJornada.com.mx. (It’s in Spanish. If your Spanish is as rusty as mine, Google’s translation service will help; though some of the idioms go a little wonky!) They link to a number of very interesting leaked State Dept. cables.

Recently, I posted a back-of-the-napkin analysis of the numbers of firearms smuggled into Mexico from the US. If you will recall, only a fraction of the guns seized in Mexico are traceable to the US. And of those, roughly a third may have been walked across the border by US-approved smugglers. This would make the US Government one of the biggest, if not the biggest, suppliers of illegal arms to the Mexican drug cartels. But the US Government’s market share may be bigger than we thought. This cable details the adventures of AR-15 #L428091, a rifle manufactured by Bushmaster and legally imported into Mexico. The cable tracks the rifle, one of a batch of 1030 rifles, as it crosses the border, is immediately received by the Mexican Army, and is then transfered to the state government of Michoacan. From there, L428091 goes AWOL until it’s recovered at a Mexican crime scene. In the cable, the author writes:

On the basis of this and similar cases, it is not evident that government officials at the state apply strict enforcement measures to track the chain of custody of weapons once SEDENA [The Mexican Army] transfers them from its custody to the custody of state officials. Given the lack of accountability for weapons once they arrive at the state level, U.S. law enforcement agencies have fair reason to worry that a number of weapons simply “disappear.” Because USG access to recovered weapons in Mexico remains limited, it is difficult to gauge just how serious a problem this is and to what extent these weapons turn up in the hands of criminal organizations in Mexico.

So then, of the 3500 or so guns that the ATF could trace for Mexican authorities, how many were traceable because they were legally sold to the Mexican government and then “lost” by their state governments? The “90% Myth” is looking shakier and shakier!

Other cables, such as this one, show a consistent desire by the Mexican government to blame the US 2nd Amendment for their woes. If only the US would renew the Clinton Assault Weapons ban! they cry. Mind you, this continued assault on your rights was going on while L428091 was enjoying its Mexican vacation.