Monday, April 20, 2009

Media Bias, Continued - Source of Guns in Mexican Crimes

The New York Times and CBS News (aided and abetted by President Obama in a recent speech), are again using a statistic known to be false. The claim is being made that 90% of the guns used for crimes in Mexico come from the USA. While that makes a striking headline or talking point, and creates a colorful illusion recalling the Wild West or a gun-crazed bunch of NRA supporters, it is so inaccurate that it almost complete reverses the actual numbers.

Mexico collects the guns used in crimes. They find it useful to know where the guns came from (where the criminals obtained them). I'm sure our country does something similar.

The "90%" figure comes from a partial truth: of the guns sent to the U.S. for identification that are traceable, 90% do indeed originate here. However, most of the guns collected in Mexico can clearly be seen to come from somewhere other than the U.S. - those guns are not sent to us for identification.

Of all the guns collected, 17% can be traced to the U.S.

This figure is know by the parties quoting 90% and has been thoroughly reported on by Fox News. Their report says, in part:

"In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S. "But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes. "In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S."

Read the entire report at

So is the news reporting bad numbers on purpose? Or are the news agencies just lazy? Read more opinion on the post "Do Popular News Sources Lean Left?".

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