Tuesday, January 8, 2013

World Firearms Report

Laci sent me the link to this absolutely fascinating report. 
There are two primary markets for illicit arms –
those who need weapons for criminal purposes, and
those who need them for political ones.
To get a sense of the relative value of the market for
firearms compared to other forms of contraband, it
helps to look at some concrete examples. On 16
November 2009, the Nicaraguan Government
made what was hailed as “one of the largest seizures
of weaponry ever made by the Nicaraguan authorities”
6 – a consignment of arms for the local representatives
of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. The
shipment comprised 59 assault rifles, two grenade
launchers and 10 grenades, eight kilos of TNT and
nearly 20,000 rounds of ammunition. While this
sounds impressive, the total value of this shipment
was likely less than US$200,000 at point-of-sale.
Three days later, the Nicaraguan navy seized 2.4
tons of cocaine off the Caribbean coast. The value
of this shipment was at least 400 times as much,
around US$80 million in US wholesale markets.
One area where criminal weapons flows could conceivably
provide attractive long-term profits for
organized groups is the movement of weapons from
the USA to Mexico, one of the two trafficking flows
discussed further below. Due to a constitutional
provision that asserts that the right to bear arms
must be protected in a free state, the United States
has the most heavily armed civilian population in
the world, and so opportunities for diversion by
theft are plentiful. But, as will be discussed, it
appears that most of the guns trafficked into Mexico
are actually purchased legally and then transported
clandestinely across the border.


  1. Report is quite interesting. Previous gunsuck comments indicated that Europe was a large source of guns smuggled into the US, since guns were manufactured there. The report shows that the gunsuck logic is, as usual, moronically wrong. Few if any guns are smuggled from Europe. That is because it is very difficult to smuggle guns over oceans. While our port security system is quite poor, it can stop large smuggling of weapons. We see smuggling from Mexico and CA. Since Mexico has quite strict gun buying laws, guns from Mexico are probably originally from the US.

    The US gunsuck culture is the world's weapon supplier. We are going to stop that.

    1. Did you read the whole article? Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine, is named as one of the major sources of small arms. Another is East Asia. You still haven't explained why an AK-47, manufactured in some other country, has to come to America first before going on to elsewhere.

      But if you want to stop America from exporting arms, that's not so bad. It just means more guns for us.

    2. You know the ATF and US Senate have already figured this one out. The number of guns originating from the US into Mexico is only about 17% of all guns in Mexico. The availability of automatic weapons from demilitarizing zones is highly attractive to Mexican cartel members. Though some of your more exotic handguns come out of the US (not "assault weapons", real assault rifles are much cheaper abroad) like the FN Five SeveN, the US arms market doesn't offer actual military arms like grenade launchers, automatic weapons, etc. Ex-Soviet and Ex-Colonial stock is plentiful across the world, and plenty accessible to any cocaine honcho.

      And if our port security is sufficient to stop weapons, somehow, I truly question your judgment. Cocaine is smuggled en mass into this country all the time; you can read Mark Bowden's "Killing Pablo" if you want to get an idea of the scale. And besides, if smuggling things over oceans is so hard, how does the world's opium crop get into the United States? Most of it is grown in Afghanistan, and somehow smuggled across the impenetrable oceans.

      Also, nice use of nothing but buzzwords and insults. Is the entirety of your arguments just "insults, buzzwords and inferences with no facts"? And somehow we can't reason? Pffft...

    3. This flow of ex-soviet arms into Mexico is seen in the thick lines passing from the highlighted Andean region into Mexico. That area is in a small scale civil war in various parts of the jungle. The US and Columbia have supplied arms to those who are friendly to us, and Chavez has supplied arms to various terrorist groups and cartels, not because they are on his side, but because they destabilize regimes unfriendly to him. This supply gives these groups a surplus they can make money by selling northward.

      Another note regarding trafficking from the US--There are a few dealers who willingly deal with criminals, and this causes large discrepancies in their books. ATF can and does shut them down, and they should. As for the dealers in the Southwestern US, in December of 2010, the Washington Post published an article, sourced from ATF agents, that listed the primary suppliers of weapons, via straw purchasing, to Mexico. This article was published a day or two before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's death.

      As the Fast and Furious controversy was growing, I thought I recognized the names of the gun shops. I finally found the archived WaPo article and verified that the shops listed in it were the ones involved in Fast and Furious. The gun used to kill Agent Terry came from the one the WaPo listed as the worst offender.

      This was the shop that, as Fast and Furious was revealed, disclosed that they had documented and even sometimes recorded calls they made to ATF telling them they had a straw purchaser in the store and asking if the ATF wanted them to delay the person so that ATF could arrest them. Instead, ATF would tell them to make the sale and that ATF agents would track the flow of the gun and make proper arrests.

      Whether you think this operation was just a botched sting or something else, it would seem, when looking at the WaPo story, that the Fast and Furious project was the source of the greatest concentration of guns that traveled from the US to Mexico. Everything else was supplied by the loose networks of independent suppliers this article talks about, whether they were straw purchasers or thieves.

      It's the distributed network of these that make me think that even your proposals, Mike, wouldn't make that big of a dent. Unintelligent criminals would continue trying to make a buck by straw purchasing, and though they might get caught easier, they'd all be good for a few guns before they got caught and then replaced by a new sucker. More intelligent groups would either ramp up thefts, or come up with elaborate schemes to "steal" them from straw purchasers, providing them with cover.

    4. My proposals would pretty much eliminate straw purchasing, especially the professional kind. By that I mean the guys who buy multiple weapons regularly for the gangsters. They would be out of business if they had to renew their registrations and have possession of the weapons after 3 months and yearly after that. Problem largely solved.

    5. Mike,

      I understand that, and you're right about the professional straw purchasers being stopped by it. Limits on buying Sudafed have had a similar effect on those who bought large amounts, but now we have a larger number of small time buyers who are harder to trace. It's true that this would be harder to do under your proposal, but it wouldn't be impossible.

      Meanwhile, my example from Fast and Furious was intended to show the reaction by most gun dealers when someone comes in to buy a ton of guns. It's obvious to them what the guns are intended for. You have a small number who will sell the guns without a check and report them lost or stolen, etc. but most of them will either deny the sale on their own, or call ATF as some of those in AZ were doing. If the ATF followed up on these calls, they could track down these buyers and eliminate them without needing a massive registration scheme.

      Similarly, ATF could refocus their compliance checks and make a bigger splash in getting rid of the unethical minority of shops that willingly sell guns to traffickers under the table. Right now, FFL's I talk to live in terror of the ATF yanking their license for a minor accidental violation--e.g. if a box with a gun in it winds up places in the stack of empty boxes, it might be temporarily "lost" even though it's still locked safely in the storage vault. Later, when they move the stack or go to get a box to put a sold gun into, they find the "lost" gun and rectify the problem. However, if they get a compliance check before they find the mislaid gun, they could lose their license. It would be better to issue a warning and give them a period to figure out what happened here and focus resources on the shop down the road, or in another state, with 20-100 guns "missing."

      This would help get the unethical dealers shut down, and would make the ethical ones less frightened of the ATF and more likely to call them when an obvious straw purchaser shows up. And all this without instituting an expensive registry that makes a lot of us gun owners nervous.

  2. This report also points out another moronic idea from gunsucks, that smuggling drugs and smuggling weapons are equivalent. They are not. There is no equivalence whatsoever. I could go Mexico and buy enough cocaine to fund my entire life going forward, and carry it back in a suitcase. To do the same thing with guns, it would take 1-2 semis.

    Gunsucks cannot reason, so expecting them to make a sensible argument is an extreme demand. Still, the analogy was and is so stupid that it is worth the momentary effort to destroy it.

    1. Anonymous, stop being an idiot. Cocaine is brought into America by the ton. We also have Mexican semis crossing the border daily. If you can't figure out how guns could be smuggled into this country if restrictions and bans became law, you have a failure of imagination.

  3. " ... it appears that most of the guns trafficked into Mexico
    are actually purchased legally and then transported
    clandestinely across the border."

    Why haven't the gun control laws in Mexico stopped their criminals from obtaining firearms? Of course criminals will smuggle firearms if they are not available at the corner store. And this is a surprise because ... ??????

    1. Jesus, another moron checks in. The guns are purchased legally in TX, NM, and AZ, possibly LA and OK as well. Not CA, which has stricter laws. Mexican rules do not govern the US, moron.

    2. Notice how none of those places, with the possible exception of California, is within Mexico? Explain why the kind of gun control the Mikeb desires doesn't work in Mexico.