Mexico’s Calderon admires Second Amendment, but wants U.S. gun control
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has no problem with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the right to bear arms — he just wants the weapons flowing across the border into his country stopped.
That’s what he told a joint session of the U.S. Congress, an honor not given to every foreign leader. And the way Congress received him — lengthy standing ovations — showed that Calderon was not just any foreign leader to speak from that podium but an especially close ally.
And perhaps it was the knowledge of that friendship between the two neighboring countries that allowed the Mexican president to fearlessly enter the lion’s den with red meat in hand.
“I fully respect, I admire the American Constitution. And I understand that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to guarantee good American citizens the ability to defend themselves and their nation,” Calderon said.
“Many of these guns are not going to honest American hands, instead, thousands are ending up in the hands of criminals,” he said.
Calderon then went on to say that the rise in violence in Mexico coincided with the lifting of the U.S. assault weapons ban in 2004.
“I also fully understand the political sensitivity of this issue,” he said, and asked Congress to consider reinstating the assault weapons ban. (That statement coincided with many Republicans staying seated, while many Democrats rose and clapped).
The meaning and intent of the 27 words of the Second Amendment have been debated incessantly for years — “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
During a visit to Mexico in April 2009, Obama said he would urge the U.S. Senate to ratify a long-stalled arms trafficking treaty aimed at curbing the flow of guns and ammunition to drug cartels in Latin America. So far it hasn’t moved.
The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States and firmly fights any threats to gun ownership. Its members have been concerned that Obama would fulfill promises to seek a permanent ban on assault weapons — essentially military style semi-automatic rifles.
There are no signs of this issue making any headway during this midterm election year. Do you think the assault weapons ban should be lifted?
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Calderon addresses joint meeting of Congress), Reuters/stringer Mexico (gold plated rifle seized in raid in Mexico)