An ATF document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon reveals 19,600 guns were recovered from crime scenes in Mexico and traced back to the U.S. between 2006 and 2010. Of those, 15,995 had a “time-to-crime” of three or more years, with an average of 15.
“Time-to-crime” is the period between a firearm’s retail sale and law enforcement’s recovery of the firearm in connection with a crime. For comparison, the U.S. average time-to-crime over the same period was 10.5 years. The time-to-crime average provides information about how quickly guns are getting from U.S. gun stores and into the hands of cartels, an indicator of how pervasive trafficking is.
The lengthy interval between guns being registered and recovered suggests that the Obama administration’s claims that illegally purchased American guns are fueling violence in Mexico’s drug war are overblown.