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US guns fuel Mexico drug war? The politics behind the issue.

A new report shows that 70 percent of confiscated weapons submitted for tracing come from the US, but critics say the figure is politically motivated.

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A mannequin is seen dressed in a U.S. Airborne uniform, as weapons are displayed to the media by the Mexican Navy in Mexico City June 9, 2011. According to the Mexican Navy, 204 rifles, 11 guns, 15 hand grenades, uniforms of the Mexican navy and of the US army, over 29,000 cartridges, and over441 pounds of cocaine and were seized in an operation against the Zetas drug cartel in Coahuila and Nuevo Leon in the north of Mexico.

Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters

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Who is supplying guns to Mexican drug traffickers?

The answer has become one of the most polemical in the gun rights debate, with Mexico blaming lax US gun laws and gun rights advocates saying that blame is misplaced.

Statistics are cited. Methodologies are dismissed.

A new report released this week by US senators has renewed the fight, with valid points coming from both sides of the divide.

The report, issued by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California, Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island, bases its conclusions on US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) statistics. The report states that of 29,284 arms handed over for tracing by Mexican authorities in 2009-10, some 70 percent came from the US.

The senators conclude that military-style guns have “contributed to Mexico’s dangerous levels of violence,” and that legislation to tighten gun laws, like reinstating the expired Assault Weapons Ban, is in order.

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