95 percent from American guns?

From today’s Chron (emphasis mine — ed.):


In its annual survey of global counter-narcotics efforts, the State Department painted a grim picture of the situation in Mexico, where government attempts to fight traffickers are hindered by rampant corruption. The battle between authorities and drug cartels killed more than 6,000 people last year and more than 1,000 so far in 2009.

It said that firearms obtained in the U.S. account for an estimated 95 percent of the country’s drug-related killings. Johnson said that should be addressed by improving the ability of Mexican authorities to identify the source of weapons and cooperate with the United States in prosecuting them.

95 percent, huh? I can’t help but call bullshit on that. With the weaponry available to the drug cartels via the corrupt Mexican military and government — including the machine guns, grenades and such — it’s more than a little preposterous to assign 95 percent of those casualties to run-of-the-mill semiautomatic rifles. The claim only seems to be undermined by a little tidbit found in comments to this story, namely that the Mexican government refuses to divulge the serial numbers on weaponry confiscated from the cartels. I haven’t seen that mentioned anywhere, so I can’t vouch for its veracity, but to be honest I would be surprised if it wasn’t true. I would also be surprised if the truth was 100 percent diametrically opposed to what the State Department says, that is, that 95 percent of those drug-related killings were due to weaponry from the Mexican military — more than a little of which is likely procured with funds from the Merida Initiative. Which would basically mean it was the American government facilitating the acquisition of these munitions. Isn’t that a hell of an irony? Hey, maybe that’s what they meant, you think? Yeah, me neither…

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