Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan was on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, where he urged President Obama to reinstate the assault weapons ban due to the increased violence along the U.S./Mexico border. This issue is certain to come up in the meeting between the two presidents next week.
Here is the video:
Ambassador Sarukhan restated the Mexican government’s claim that 90% of the weapons are coming from the U.S., “Ninety percent of all weapons we are seizing in Mexico, Bob, are coming from across the United States,” he said, citing the high number of Federal firearms licenses a few miles north of the border. “Just on the Arizona and Texas borders with Mexico alone there are approximately 7,000 FFLs, federal firearms licensees. And weapons bought by the drug syndicates, directly or proxy purchases, are coming from those gun shops.”
He also claimed that there is a direct connection between the increase in assault weapons in Mexico and the lifting of the ban in 2004, “The assault weapons ban ran out in 2004, Bob,” he said, “and since then we have seen a rise of assault weapons being seized in Mexico. There is a direct correlation between the expiration of the assault weapons ban and our seizures of assault weapons.”
Host Bob Schieffer pointed out that the NRA disputes the Mexican government’s statistics, and when pressed, Sarukhan could not clearly explain where his government is getting their data. Obama has already made it clear that his administration will not be bringing back the ban. The sense is that there is no need for him or Congress to wade into this issue, when many Congressional Democrats are against the ban. In addition, Democrats do not want to give Republicans an issue to run on in the 2010 midterm election. The administration won’t be reinstating the ban.
If both the U.S. and Mexican governments want to stop the illegal flow of weapons, the ban is far from the best option. Why won’t each government hire more agents to work along the border to stop the flow of weapons? In a down economy, the administration could create thousands of new jobs this way. Instead of shifting agents around the border, hire more, for the express purpose of halting weapons smuggling into Mexico.
However, the Mexicans cannot solely pass the political blame on to the U.S. Mexico needs to do their part. An assault weapons ban will not reduce the violence along the border. The ban would only serve to create political problems for Obama at home.