Beck Fearmongers About Border Chaos To Attack Obama's Gun Policy


On his radio show, Glenn Beck fearmongered about violence along the U.S.-Mexico border to suggest that the government will confiscate Americans' guns. In fact, the Justice Department has simply issued regulations putting in place a reporting requirement for multiple purchases of certain kinds of rifles, and, furthermore, violence in areas on the U.S. side of the border is dropping.

Beck Fearmongers About Border Violence As Part Of Conspiracy Theory That The Government Is Coming For Americans' Guns

Beck: "Over 15,000 People Have Died In 18 Months" At The "U.S.-Mexican Border." From the July 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: You know, when I was in -- when I was at Gaza today and I am standing there, and I am standing, I'm not kidding you, at the border, and here is this town, 8,000 rockets have come in. It's Hezbollah and Hamas. And I was talking to the mayor and I said, "You know, how many people have died here?" I said, "Do you know how many people have died on the Mexican -- U.S.-Mexican border?"

He said, "No."

I said, "Over 15,000 people have died in 18 months."

PAT: Oh way over that, it's like 35,000.

BECK: It's 35,000, I think, in 24 or --

PAT GRAY (co-host): Oh, OK, yes.

BECK: And I said, and he looked at me, and he thought, he thought he misheard me.


BECK: So I said to him, I said, "There are at least 15,000 deaths on our border." He looked, and the translator asked me, "I'm sorry, how long? What number?" And I told him. And then they spoke back and forth and the only word I understood was "America?" And I said, "Yes, right on our border. The U.S.-Mexican border." You won't believe what's going on.


BECK: Why would they be taking the guns away from the people on the border states? Why? That makes no sense. As things become more and more unruly, you want people to be able to protect themselves. The only one that's really having a problem smuggling, you know, guns across the border -- oh, I don't know -- is the ATF and the Justice Department. Our own people are doing it. Our government is doing it. You want to stop guns at the border? Here's an idea: put up a fence. You want to make sure it doesn't go through customs, it doesn't go through the border crossings, great. Support our border guards. That's the way you do it. Why would they disarm the American people? Why would they make it more difficult? If you want to put that in, you put that in for the entire country. Because they know the entire country would have a cow. This is where they begin. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 7/12/11]

Beck's Theory That The Government Will Soon Be "Taking The Guns Away" From People Has No Basis In Fact

New Justice Department Regulations Don't Call For Gun Confiscation, But Simply Put In Place A Reporting Requirement For Multiple Purchases Of Certain Types Of Rifles. From the Associated Press:

In an effort to stem the illicit flow of weapons into Mexico, the Justice Department announced Monday that all gun shops in four Southwest border states will be required to alert the federal government to frequent buyers of high-powered rifles.


Under the new policy, federal firearms licensees in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico must report purchases of two or more of some types of rifles by the same person in a five-day span. The requirement applies to purchases of semi-automatic rifles that have detachable magazines and a caliber of greater than .22. [Associated Press, 7/11/11]

Furthermore, Violence In Areas On The U.S. Side Of The Border Is Dropping

Violent Crime Rate In Metropolitan Statistical Areas Along Southwest Border Decreased From 1999 Through 2009. A June 9 Congressional Research Service report focusing on Southwest Border Violence found that most of the eight selected Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) along the Southwest border in which Mexican drug trafficking organizations are present have shown a decrease in violent crime rate from 1999-2009. From the report:


[CRS Report, 6/9/11]

CRS: "No Significant Difference In The Average Violent Crime Rate In" Selected Border And Non-Border Metropolitan Statistical Areas. From the CRS report:

In its analysis, CRS calculated the average violent crime rate across eight selected Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) along the Southwest border and 130 selected non-border MSAs -- identified by the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) as having the presence of Mexican DTOs -- for each of fiscal years 1999 through 2009. CRS analysis suggests that the violent crime rate has not significantly increased in those areas where there is an identified presence of Mexican DTOs. Further, there appears to be no significant difference in the average violent crime rate in the selected border and non-border MSAs between fiscal years 1999 and 2009. In conclusion, however, because the trends in the overall violent crime rate may not be indicative of trends in drug trafficking-related violent crimes, CRS is unable to draw definitive claims about trends in drug trafficking-related violence spilling over from Mexico into the United States. [CRS Report, 6/9/11]

Huffington Post: "Hacked Arizona Police Document Contradicts ... Border Violence Claims" In AZ. In a June 27 Huffington Post article, John Rudolf explained that contrary to the claims of border violence by public officials, the DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis report "finds no signs that significant violence in Mexico is spilling across the border into Arizona." From the article, headlined, "Hacked Arizona Police Document Contradicts McCain and Brewer's Border Violence Claims":

A trove of internal Arizona state police documents released by a hacker group last week contains a confidential federal report that contradicts claims by Arizona politicians, including Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. John McCain, that violence tied to drug trafficking and illegal immigration from Mexico is on the rise in the state.


[T]he hacked report, by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, finds no signs that significant violence in Mexico is spilling across the border into Arizona.

The agency "lacks information that indicates Mexican traffickers have directed any killings in Arizona" between 2008 and 2009, the report states, in a section titled "Violence Rising in Mexico, but Not in United States."

The report also notes that Arizona's murder rate plunged by 20 percent statewide between 2008 and 2009. It cites one murder -- the 2010 shooting of an Arizona rancher -- as "one of the few homicides that clearly have a cross-border connection." [Huffington Post, 6/27/11]

Both Violent Crime And Property Crime In Arizona Dropped In 2009. The AP reported in September 2010:

Crime in Arizona dropped sharply in 2009, with overall violent crime down by 13.9 percent.

FBI statistics released on Monday show murder and non-negligent manslaughter dropped by 22 percent in 2009. Last year, 354 people were victims of murder or manslaughter, compared to 454 people the year earlier.

Forcible rape was down by 3.8 percent, and both robbery and aggravated assault dropped by double digits.

Property crimes dropped by nearly 12 percent, lead by a 32 percent decline in motor vehicle theft.

Only South Dakota saw a larger drop in violent crime than Arizona.

Nationally, violent crime dropped by 5.3 percent and property crime decreased by 4.6 percent. [Associated Press, 9/13/10]

Crime Rates Dropped In Other Border States From 1999 Through 2009. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) data show that violent crime rates and property crime rates in California, New Mexico, and Texas dropped from 1999 through 2009 -- the most recent year from which data are available:

In California, the violent crime rate dropped from 627.2 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1999 to 472.0 in 2009 with the actual number of violent crimes dropping from 207,879 to 174,459; the property crime rate dropped from 3,177.8 to 2,731.5 during the same period.

In New Mexico, the violent crime rate dropped from 834.5 in 1999 to 619.0 in 2009; the property crime rate dropped from 5,127.6 to 3,735.8 over the same period.

In Texas, the violent crime rate dropped from 560.3 in 1999 to 490.9 in 2009; the property crime rate dropped from 4,471.5 to 4,015.5 over the same period. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, accessed 7/19/11; FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, 2008, 2009]

Statistics Beck Cited Appear To Refer To Killings In Various Locations In Mexico, Not In The U.S.

Beck's Statistics Seemingly Refer To Estimated Drug-Related Killings In Mexico In 2010. From the AP:

A total of 34,612 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico in the four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared an offensive against drug cartels, officials said Wednesday.

The killings reached their highest level in 2010, jumping by almost 60 percent to 15,273 deaths from 9,616 the previous year.

The rate of killings grew in the first half of 2010, but then stabilized and began to decline in the last quarter of the year, federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire said. [Associated Press, 1/12/11]

Calderon And Other Officials Say Only "About Half The Killings Took Place In Three Northern States." From the AP:

Calderon said many of the killings in 2010 were generated by the turf war between the Zetas drug gang and their former allies in the Gulf cartel. He and other officials noted that about half the killings took place in three northern states: Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. Mexico has 31 states plus the capital, Mexico City. [Associated Press, 1/12/11]

Beck Admits He Wasn't Able To Push His Border Theory On CNN Or Fox

Beck Says He Couldn't Get CNN Or Fox To Go Along With His Border Theory, But With GBTV, He "Own[s] The Stinking Dump." From The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: GBTV is doing an exposé in the next 12 months, we are starting working on something now on the border that I have been -- you remember when I was over at Fox and I -- first I was over at CNN, and I couldn't tell the story on the border. Nobody would help me out. CNN was just like, "What border? Border? What border? Problem? What problem?"

And then I went over to Fox. And I asked Fox -- I said, "Look, we'd like to get an investigative journalist on this," yada yada yada, and, you know, one reason or another we never got that done. Well now I own the stinking dump, and now I'm putting my own money into it. So I will tell you, we are going to be showing you things on the border that will melt your brain. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 7/12/11]

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Guns
Premiere Radio Networks, Associated Press
Glenn Beck, Pat Gray
Glenn Beck Program, HuffPost
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