Mr. Calderone said he respects the Second Amendment, but argued that violence south of the border spiked in 2004 after the expiration of a U.S. ban on semiautomatic weapons. Echoing statements made by President Obama Wednesday, Mr. Calderon said the U.S. bears some responsibility in propping up the drug trade with its demand for narcotics and supply of guns.
Pointedly, he warned that U.S. failure to rein in weapons dealing leaves America vulnerable to the drug-war violence wreaking havoc in Mexico.
"With all due respect, if you do not regulate the sale of these weapons in the right way, nothing guarantees that criminals here in the United States with access to the same power of weapons will not decide to challenge American authorities and civilians," he said.
Mr. Calderon told a joint session of Congress that of the 75,000 guns seized by Mexican authorities over the last three years, 80 percent are traced to the U.S.
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That assertion is suspect as gun-rights advocates and several media outlets have debunked similar figures in the past. Indeed, Mr. Calderon’s comments drew a harsh rebuke from the National Rifle Association on Thursday.
"The answer to Mexico’s drug and violence problem does not lie in dismantling the Second Amendment; it lies in making sure that the Mexican government takes care of problems on their side of the border," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. "With all due respect to the president, he’s either intentionally using false data, or he’s unknowingly using bad numbers." Read more.
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