Report: Border Patrol Using Firearms Less Often Than Under Obama

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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Border Patrol agents are using their firearms at the U.S.-Mexico border less often under the Trump administration than under the Obama administration.

According to data obtained by the Associated Press, firearm use by Border Patrol and U.S. Customs agents in budget year 2018 was down 40 percent since 2016, and 73 percent since 2012.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded the following number of incidents involving a firearm between budget years 2012 and 2018:

2012: 55

2013: 45

2014: 23

2015: 18

2016: 25

2017: 17

2018: 15

The decrease in lethal force comes as a result of a review of CBP policies and fewer overall border crossings, although the data also says assaults on Border Patrol agents have increased.

Use of less-lethal force — tear gas, pepper balls, etc. — is also down from a high of 1,168 incidents in 2013 to 898 incidents in 2018. The number of less-lethal incidents also fell by 8 percent between 2017 and 2018.

The decrease in less-lethal incidents comes despite fears among the media and Democrats that Border agents have been using excessive force against migrants. In one high-profile incident at the San Diego border in November, agents threw tear gas at a group of migrants who were rushing the border and throwing rocks at officers. (RELATED: Border Patrol Agents Used Tear Gas, Pepper Spray Under Obama More Than 500 Times)

Several high-profile Democrats alleged at the time that the U.S. violated the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention by deploying the gas against migrants.

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