Washington, Jun 16 (EFE).- President Joe Biden acknowledged Friday that dangerous weapons, particularly assault rifles, are flowing from the United States into Mexico.
The US head of state made those remarks during a speech in West Hartford, Connecticut, in which he urged Congress to pass more legislation to reduce gun violence.
Biden said the firearms issue surfaces when he talks to Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador about the need to keep deadly drugs – especially the potent opioid fentanyl – from entering the US across its southern border.
“You know what I get when we’re talking about the fentanyl at the border and all that?” Biden said at the Safer Communities Summit. “I speak to the president of Mexico: ‘Will you stop sending guns to us?'” he said.
“We’re sending dangerous weapons, particularly assault weapons, to Mexico. To Mexico. They’re asking us, ‘Please stop it. Cut it off at the border.'”
Speaking in a heated tone, Biden continually referred to the pain of American families who have lost loved ones due to gun violence and expressed admiration for activists who demand congressional action to further restrict gun possession.
On Friday, Biden again called on Republicans in Congress to join with Democrats in banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, which enable shooters to fire a large number of bullets without stopping to reload.
Such legislation is highly unlikely, however, while the GOP controls the lower house of Congress, since millions of Republican voters hold their constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms as sacrosanct and staunchly oppose any type of gun-control legislation.
The US in 1994 approved the Federal Assault Weapons Ban as part of broader anti-crime legislation, although the prohibition on the manufacture of certain semi-automatic firearms for civilian use and of ammunition magazines defined as high-capacity applied only to weapons made after the date of the law’s enactment.
That ban also expired after 10 years and was not renewed by Congress.
The National Rifle Association has exerted great influence over US politics in recent decades through its donations to lawmakers’ political campaigns, a strategy it has effectively leveraged to roll back gun restrictions.
Even so, a bill was passed a year ago with bipartisan support that made it tougher for young buyers to obtain a gun, encouraged states to remove firearms from people deemed a threat and prevented individuals convicted of abusing their unmarried intimate partners from owning a gun (a clause that closed the so-called “boyfriend loophole”).
That bill, which was passed after a pair of mass shootings in May 2022 in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, that killed 32 people was touted by its proponents as the most significant gun-control legislation in nearly three decades.
Firearms have claimed the lives of more than 19,500 people in the US thus far this year, including more than 11,000 suicides, according to the non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive.
The Mexican government estimates that some 200,000 firearms enter Mexico from the US each year. EFE