By Bill Chapell / NPR
From 2009 to 2014, more than 73,000 guns that were seized in Mexico were traced to the U.S., according to a new update on the effort to fight weapons trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The figure, based on data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, represents about 70 percent of the 104,850 firearms seized by Mexican authorities that were also submitted to U.S. authorities for tracing.
The data was analyzed by the Government Accountability Office, which notes in its report that U.S. police agencies have acknowledged firearms smuggling is fueling violent crime in Mexico.
“Most of the firearms seized in Mexico that were traced and found to be of U.S. origin from 2009 to 2014 came from U.S. Southwest border states,” the GAO report says. “While guns seized in Mexico of U.S. origin were traced to all of the 50 states, most came from Texas, California, and Arizona.”
Many of those guns were bought legally in the U.S. and then smuggled over the border, according to the GAO.
The GAO report paints a picture of the challenges officials face as they try to stop the flow of weapons from the U.S. into Mexico, where laws seek to strictly limit the availability of guns to the public.