Gun Control Debate Takes Mexico Into Account

In the recent debate about stricter gun control, some officials on both sides of the Rio Grande saw a sliver of hope -- that such laws might curb the flow of illegal weapons over the United States' southern border.

"I hope that whatever we are going to do in trying to protect our gun rights but at the same time regulate the legal ownership of weapons is going to have a component on guns that are being smuggled out of the country so easily now and causing the carnage," said Alonzo Pea, the former deputy director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement who also served as a Department of Homeland Security attach at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

But the national debate, coupled with the Obama administration's proposals to tighten gun laws, has only fortified the ranks of Second Amendment proponents in Texas, who remain adamant that the border states that are a main source for weapons in Mexico's drug war are not responsible for the thousands of murders in that country since 2006.

After President Obama last week called for more background checks on potential gun purchasers and a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, Republican lawmakers immediately rebuked the White House's efforts. Texas state lawmakers have already filed legislation in Austin that would permit college students to carry weapons on campus and proposed a measure that would also open the door for gun-carrying marshals at primary schools.

Attorney General Greg Abbott last week threatened Travis County and the City of Austin with a "double-barreled" lawsuit when they considered banning gun shows on public property, and Gov. Rick Perry has said the country's Democratic leadership is using the slaughter of innocent children as a political pawn.
"The piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me personally," Perry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Other Texas Republicans dismissed the notion that it was time to re-evaluate what role the U.S. plays in the carnage in Mexico, where more than 70,000 people have been killed in cartel-related violence since former President Felipe Caldern launched a war on organized crime in December 2006.

A December 2012 report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed that more than 68,160 of the approximately 99,700 weapons recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing from 2007 to 2011 had originated in the U.S.

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