Almost 70% of the guns recovered from Mexican criminal activity during the past five years can be traced back to gun sales originating in the United Stares. According to CNN.com, all the guns that were traced passed to the U.S from Mexican authorities.
Sen. Chuck Grassley cautioned against reading too much into the statistics. According to him, "most of these guns can't be traced to U.S. gun dealers," and some of these guns could be tied to "the federal government's own gun-walking scandal," in which the government attempted sting operations by selling guns to Mexican cartels. He also argued that the Mexican officials may not report all their own guns.
On the opposite side, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, an anti-gun advocate, claims these figures are evidence that we need stricter gun laws. Some anti-gun activists claim that the National Rifle Association and the gun industry have downplayed the degree to which U.S. gun sales are responsible for weapons used by Mexican drug cartels and other violent criminals to the South.
According to new data released from Mexico, 99,691 firearms were traced from 2007 to 2011. 68,161 of those firearms were from the United States. There has been a significant increase in confiscated rifles.
Both Mexican and American governments claim they are dedicated to trying to control drug cartels and stop the illegal movement of firearms across the border. These efforts are not always successful. One operation, code-named Fast and Furious, was botched when hundreds of illegally purchased weapons, which were supposed to be tracked, got last after they crossed the border. Two of those weapons were found at the scene of the murder of a Border Patrol agent. Both the ATF and Justice Department received criticism for this mistake.
Photo courtesy of CNN.