Open letter to Rep. Rodriguez
First, thank you for signing onto the St. Patrick's Day letter to the AG's office with 64 of your colleagues, advising him not to pursue the ineffective legislation he mentioned his office was considering. Your inclusion in that number made me a happy constituent.
However, your most recent email to your constituents contains a bit of obfuscation that I hope you can clear up for me. In part, you wrote: "that includes smuggling an iron river of over 10,000 American guns in to the hands of the drug cartels in only 2007 and 2008."
First of all, thank you for not blindly repeating the ridiculously fallacious "90%" number that the Executive Branch and some of your colleagues seem to love throwing around. The 10,347 number which reflects the number of guns, seized by Mexico & turned in to BATFE for tracing, that turned out to indeed come from a US source, makes up only 36% of the total number of arms seized by Mexican authorities over 2007 & 2008. So thank you for that.
However, there is absolutely no evidence (none deemed suitable for public consumption that I can locate, at any rate) that all 10,347 were smuggled across the border illegally. It may not have been tactful to suggest this in your recent visit with President Calderon, but it certainly seems relevant to wonder how many of these 10,347 originated as a fully-legal shipment of arms, supplied directly by US manufacturers to the Mexican military (or that of other Latin American countries) via US Dept. of Defense contracts, only to find their way - God only knows how - into the hands of the cartels? How many of these 10,347 are of a type that aren't even legal for civilian purchase in the US (that is, fully-automatic, etc.)? Additional gun control measures aimed at restricting the civilian market in the US will do absolutely nothing about that portion - whatever it turns out to be - of the 10,347 that fits those descriptions.
One would certainly expect BATFE to maintain some kind of records of what kind of arms these are that it's tracing, and where they came from - otherwise, how would it be able to determine anything else about them? Is there a way you - or a citizen, through a FOIA request - might gain access to that kind of breakdown of these 10,347 arms that were traced and originated here? That kind of information should certainly inform any policy decisions that are being discussed along those lines, and which shouldn't be carried out with only gross, aggregated statistics like, "over 10,000 of these guns originated in the US".