President Felipe Calderon pointed to the recent mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater as a reason to push for increased gun control in the United States.
On July 22, while tweeting his condolences for the shooting victims in Aurora, Colorado, Mexican President Felipe Calderon criticized American gun policy. Calderon argued that the murders are another reason for Congress to revise gun control legislation, claiming that the laws “hurt all of us.”
This is not the first time that Calderon has raised the issue. In April at a summit of the North American leaders, Calderon criticized lax American gun control policies for allowing firearms to flow across the Mexican border into the hands of criminal groups. In February, the president unveiled a billboard near the international border calling for “No More Weapons!” to be smuggled into the country from the US.
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Despite Calderon’s comments, it is unlikely that the recent shooting in Colorado will prompt gun reform anytime soon. A Pew poll in April demonstrated an overall lack of public support for gun reform, with 49 percent of Americans saying that it is more important to protect gun rights, and 45 percent saying that it is more important to control gun ownership.
The figures concerning the amount of guns brought into Mexico from the US are contested. US Justice Department data shows that close to 70 percent of the firearms Mexican authorities recovered and submitted for trace tests over the past five years can be traced back to the US. On the other hand, the Annemberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org calculated that 36 percent of the total number of seized guns in Mexico originated in the US.
The US is not the only source of weapons in Mexico: the Zetas, for example, have also obtained high-powered weapons from military arsenals in Guatemala. But it is clear that it is all too easy for gun smugglers to use middlemen — or “straw buyers” — to purchase high-power weapons north of the border. In one recent case on July 9, US authorities busted an alleged “straw buying” ring in Texas that provided automatic rifles to the Zetas.