While many Americans — especially in Arizona — are furious over the flow of workers from Mexico into the United States, Mexican President Felipe Calderon is unhappy over a steady stream of imports going in the opposite direction: guns from the United States flowing into Mexico.
Addressing a joint session of Congress yesterday, Calderon asked that the ban on assault-type weapons be reinstated. As the Washington Post’s editorial page noted:
Mr. Calderón, who has been in Washington for a state visit, made a powerful case. Over the past three years, Mexican authorities have seized some 75,000 weapons used in crimes; more than 80 percent of those they were able to trace came from the United States. Mr. Calderón argued that the surge in violent, cartel-related crimes coincided with the 2004 repeal of the U.S. assault weapons ban.
“I fully respect, I admire the American Constitution,” Mr. Calderón said. “And I understand that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to guarantee good American citizens the ability to defend themselves and their nation. But believe me, many of these guns are not going to honest American hands.”
Mr. Calderón is right that the challenge to Mexico’s security has “roots on both sides of the border.” The Obama administration’s newly unveiled national drug policy acknowledges as much and wisely emphasizes drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation to reduce the demand for illicit drugs. The White House also deserves credit for pushing forcefully to assist Mexican crime-fighting efforts. But it has been negligent in the battle against illegal guns, caving to the gun lobby on such issues as an assault weapons ban and a move to close a gun show loophole that allows some purchases without a background check.
While the Post urged Obama to show some spine and push to reinstate the ban, that’s not going to happen. Even as conservatives carry on about Obama’s “socialist facism” (whatever that is) and gun-nuts stock up on weapons because of their insistence that the president plans to confiscate their weapons, the Democrats have been craven on gun issues for a decade. The ban on assault weapons should be reinstated. But it ain’t gonna happen.