Four months after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the U.S. Senate has finally taken the first step in preventing future gun violence. On Thursday, April 11, 2013 the Senate voted 68-31 to begin the debate on gun control legislation. As you’ve probably read in the news, the current version of the Senate gun bill would make important headway by strengthening current laws on gun trafficking and straw purchasers, increasing grants for improvements in school safety and expanding background checks to nearly every gun purchase.
Why is this important for communities on both sides of the border? We know that thousands of families across Mexico have also lost their sons and daughters to gun violence. Many of the firearms that contribute to this violence originate in the United States. Just last month, a study by the University of San Diego estimated that “the volume of firearms crossing the border is higher than previously assumed.”
Although Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 is not in the current bill, it will be offered as an amendment. We know that years of easy access to deadly assault weapons has contributed to an uptick in bloodshed across Mexico. Encourage your senators to include the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 in the final legislation!
Five Key Reasons to Demand Gun Control Legislation
1-Mexican drug cartels get the majority of their guns from the U.S. Seventy percent of guns recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing between 2007 and 2011 came from the United States. With only one legal gun store in Mexico, it is near to impossible to legally purchase a gun in Mexico, but there are more than 8,000 gun dealers in the U.S. Border States alone, making it easy and convenient for Mexican drug cartels to acquire guns in the United States through straw purchasers or at gun shows.
2-Gun traffickers attempted to smuggle 250,000 guns into Mexico between 2010 and 2012. Only about 15 percent of these guns were intercepted. 73.5 percent of firearms traced by the ATF in 2007 came from three of the four U.S. Border States: Arizona, California, and Texas.
3- Drug-related violence continues to devastate communities in Mexico. More than 100,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006. There were 982 organized crime executions one month into President Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency. U.S. citizens have also been victims of violence in Mexico with the State Department reporting that more than 100 U.S. citizens were murdered in Mexico in 2011.
4- A 2012 study by NYU and UMass Researchers demonstrated that the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004 caused an increase in homicides in Mexican border towns.
5- Mexican authorities have repeatedly asked the United States to address the problem of cross-border gun trafficking. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto supports efforts to enact gun control and to combat gun trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico.
According to a recent study by San Diego University. http://bit.ly/136mmV0