On Thursday, Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, where prohibitive gun laws prevent good people from having firearms for protection against criminals and governments of dubious legitimacy (historically the norm in Mexico), encouraged Congress to reinstate the federal "assault weapon" ban. With a warning seemingly designed to appeal to those who believe that speaking out against the Obama Administration's policies are one step short of sedition or worse, Calderon said, "[I]f 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."
Calderon also misinformed Congress, claiming that violence in Mexico rose significantly after the U.S. ban expired in 2004. In fact, Mexico's murder rate has been stable since 2003 and remains well below rates recorded previously. However, he did not explain why violent crime has declined significantly in the U.S. since the ban expired, or how a ban on flash suppressors and bayonet mounts relates to drug thugs in Mexico or anywhere else.
Notwithstanding the Washington Post's judgment that Calderon "made a powerful case," we suspect his speech fell on mostly deaf ears in Congress and in Arizona, which he inappropriately criticized for having an illegal immigration enforcement law that is similar to Mexico's. But it had some effect, however. New York Democrat Rep. Carolyn McCarthy issued a statement incorrectly claiming that she has repeatedly introduced legislation to "reinstate" the ban. She has repeatedly introduced legislation, of course, but not to reinstate the ban. Rather, her bills have proposed to apply the "assault weapon" label to far more firearms than were covered by the expired ban, including the M1 Garand service rifle, the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22, and any semi-automatic shotgun or rifle a future attorney general might claim is not "sporting."