Feinstein, Schumer, Whitehouse Report Calls for Stronger U.S. Response to Firearms Trafficking to Mexico
Urges Congress and the Administration to strengthen firearms laws to stem drug-related violence
70% of weapons recovered in Mexico originated in U.S. according to ATF
June 13, 2011
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, along with Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today released the findings of a Congressional investigation that concludes American military-style weapons are arming Mexico’s brutal drug trafficking organizations at an alarming rate and policymakers are not adequately responding.
“Congress has been virtually moribund while powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to gain unfettered access to military-style firearms coming from the United States,” said Senator Feinstein. “New ATF data provided last week reveals that more than 70 percent of firearms recovered at crime scenes and traced by Mexican officials actually originated in the United States.”
According to the report, Halting U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico, the overwhelming majority of firearms recovered at crime scenes and traced by Mexican officials originate in the United States. In a recent letter to Feinstein, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson indicated that in 2009 and 2010 20,504 of the 29,284 firearms (70 percent) recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing were United States-sourced.
“This report confirms what many of us already know to be true: although the Senate’s recently passed border measure will help make our Southern border safer, it is still too easy for Mexican drug lords to get their hands on deadly military-grade weapons within our borders,” said Senator Schumer. “We need to redouble our efforts to keep violent firearms out of the hands of these traffickers.”
“This report outlines common sense measures that will help protect our border and our communities by keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of Mexican gangs and drug cartels,” said Senator Whitehouse.
Conclusions of the report:
It will be very difficult to successfully reduce drug-related violence in Mexico without starving the country’s drug trafficking organizations of their military-style weapons.
To do this, the United States must strengthen current firearms laws and regulations. This can be done through a number of key actions by the Obama Administration and Congress, including:
- Enactment of legislation to close the gun show loophole;
- Better enforcement of the existing ban on imports of military-style weapons;
- Reinstatement of the expired Assault Weapons Ban;
- Reporting by Federal Firearms Licensees on all multiple firearms sales; and
- Senate ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA).
The Halting U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico report can be found here. Information from the report was gathered through meetings in Mexico and in U.S. border cities, briefings, interviews, and a review of documents from both government and non-government subject matter experts.