Updated April 12, 2009
Mexican Envoy Defends Claim That Most Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.
Auturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, repeated and defended his claim that 90 percent of the weapons intercepted in Mexico come from the U.S.
During an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Sarukhan said on the Arizona and Texas borders with Mexico alone, roughly 7,000 licenses for federal firearms had been granted.
Sarukhan isn't the only one to cite this myth. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, California Sen. Diane Feinstein and Willliam Hoover, assistant director for field operations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have all said that 90 percent of weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the U.S.
But in fact, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.
An ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com earlier this month in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director "that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."
But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.
"Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market," Matt Allen, special agent of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News earlier this month.
Sarukhan has claimed that Mexico seizes 2,000 guns a day from the United States, or 730,000 a year. But the official statistic from the Mexico attorney general's office says Mexico seized 29,000 weapons in all of 2007 and 2008.