Saturday, April 28, 2012

Explaining ATF Trace Data

I was questioned by an associate about how I arrived at my percentages (72%) for the the unaccounted for firearms in my last post about ATF trace data in MX. His understanding (and that of the media) was that of 99K firearms submitted to ATF for tracing 68K came from the US. While that's true, it's not accurate. I'll walk you through it.

99,691 (100%) firearms were submitted to ATF for tracing. This number doesn't represent all of the firearms recovered in MX, but those that the MX government suspected of coming from the US.

68,161 (68.37%) firearms were confirmed by ATF trace as having been manufactured in or imported into the US, (but not necessarily sold in the US). This is the percent that the media and other groups are using by stating the the US supplies 68% of crime guns to MX.

27,825 firearms were traced as being sold by an FFL, either to an individual in the US or to a government outside of the US. This number represents 40.82% of firearms traced to the US and 27.91% of firearms submitted for tracing. This leaves 72.09% of the firearms submitted for trace unaccounted for.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, how I arrived at that 72% figure. Don't tell anyone, but I also used a new top secret device that should be out on the market in 15 or so years. I understand the civilian equivalent will be called a calculator.

Let's look at those 27,825 firearms that did trace back to a US sale. Where did those come from? Presumably, theses came from over the counter sales. Does that mean that someone bought all of these firearms and trafficked them to MX? No, now go sit in the corner for even thinking that. Some of these firearms were sold to straw buyers that bought them in order to traffic them to MX but ATF refuses to release this number. Some of these firearms were purchased by law abiding citizens, who subsequently had their firearms stolen, but ATF refuses to release that number. Some of these firearms were stolen from FFLs, but ATF refuses to release that number as well, along with the trace data, however, here is some insight into FFL theft.

Calendar years 2008, 2009 and 2010 saw 74,085 firearms lost or stolen from FFLs. With less than a 23% recovery, that leaves over 57,000, in just three years, floating around, possibly making their way to MX and of course, ATF won't tell us how many of the traced firearms from MX were stolen.

Will 'stronger' gun laws help prevent these firearms from traveling to MX? No, and if you were thinking that, you're in time out for a week. Background checks were performed on all of these purchases so requiring more background checks wouldn't have stopped those sales. It's already against the law to purchase a firearm for someone else (straw purchase), so no other law would prevent that. It's already against the law to use a fake/fraudulent ID to purchase a firearm, so no other law would prevent that.  So what would prevent these firearms from going across the border? Close the damn thing and build a big ass wall, that would stop firearms from going south and drugs from coming north.

What's your take on the matter?

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