On Thursday, during his visit to Mexico City, President Obama told an audience gathered at Mexico’s Anthropology Museum that the war over gun control reform in the United State is not over despite the recent defeat of certain gun bills in the U.S. Senate, including the controversial Manchin-Toomey expanded background check agreement.
“We recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States,” said the president. “In America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms, and as President I swore an oath to uphold that right—and I always will.”
“At the same time, as I’ve said back home, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common sense gun reforms that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people—reforms that will save lives in both our countries,” he continued.
During his speech, Obama did not mention the fatally flawed gun running program spearheaded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Operation Fast and Furious or the more than 2,000 firearms that fell directly into the hands of known Mexican drug cartels as a result.
Nor did he bring up the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was slain near the Arizona-Mexico border in 2010. Several of the weapons found at the crime scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious.
Instead, Obama promised to keep “increasing the pressure on the gun traffickers who bring illegal guns into Mexico,” saying that his administration “we’ll keep putting these criminals where they belong—behind bars.”
Speaking of criminal activity, some would argue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder still needs to be held accountable for his conspicuous lack of leadership and oversight while the failed sting operation was underway. Moreover, Holder’s subsequent stonewalling of the Congressional investigation looking into Fast and Furious has been an area of notable demerit.
With respect to Mexico’s war on drugs, which has been an epic failure – since 2006, more than 60,000 people have perished as a result of the Mexican government’s effort to crackdown on the major drug cartels – Obama argued for more of the same failed policies.
“We understand that the root cause of much of the violence here—and so much suffering for many Mexicans— is the demand for illegal drugs, including in the United States,” said Obama”
“Now, I do not believe that legalizing drugs is the answer; instead, I believe in a comprehensive approach—not just law enforcement, but education, prevention and treatment. And we’re going to keep at it—because the lives of our children and the future of our nations depend on it.”
As the president said, “legalizing drugs is not the answer.” But, at this point, considering both countries have pretty much tried everything else, which has only exacerbated the situation, wouldn’t legalizing drugs or at least decriminalizing their usage, be a worthy proposition?
For a lengthy and fascinating discussion on this very topic, check out Guns.com’s interview with Sylvia Longmire, intelligence analyst and author of the book, “Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars.”
Bottom line: President Obama maintains gun control is the primary answer to curbing violence both here in the U.S. and Mexico. Do you agree with his assessment?