There's no dispute that thousands of handguns, military style rifles and other firearms are purchased in the U.S. and end up in the hands of Mexican criminals each year. It's relatively easy to buy such guns legally in Texas and other border states and to smuggle them across.
But is it true as President Obama said, that "More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States?" No, it's not.
The figure represents only the percentage of crime guns that have been submitted by Mexican officials and traced by U.S. officials. We can find no hard data on the total number of guns actually "recovered in Mexico," but U.S. and Mexican officials both say that Mexico recovers more guns than it submits for tracing. Therefore, the percentage of guns "recovered" and traced to U.S. sources necessarily is less than 90 percent.
Furthermore, the 90 percent figure is based on a badly biased sample of all Mexican crime guns. Law enforcement officials say Mexico asks the U.S. to trace only those guns with serial numbers or other markings that indicate they are likely to have come though the U.S.
Fox News has put the percentage at only 17 percent, but we find that to be based on a mistaken assumption that throws its figure way off. We can't offer a precise calculation because we know of no hard information on the total number of guns Mexican officials have recovered. But if a rough figure given by Mexico's attorney general is accurate, then the actual percentage of all Mexican crime guns traced to U.S. sources is probably less than half what the president claims, and more than double what Fox news has reported.
You can go see the whole analysis for yourself at Factcheck.org.
Obama is always very quick to blame the U.S., for all the ills in the world and obviously didn't verify his information before, once again, doing so publicly.
H/T Andrew Malomn from LA Times' Top of the Ticket.