Mexican president presses US to strengthen gun laws
Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has urged the United States to end the “indiscriminate sale of guns” in the wake of the El Paso shooting, which claimed 7 Mexican lives.
Speaking at a daily press conference, Mexico’s leftist leader said the attack underlined the dangers of allowing citizens “to acquire weapons in any shopping centre, as currently happens, without any control”.
“This doesn’t happen in our country,” López Obrador told reporters.
“We have great respect for the decisions of other governments, but we believe these appalling events that have taken place in the United States should lead to contemplation, discussion and a decision to control the indiscriminate sale of guns”.
López Obrador said he was not seeking to meddle in the internal affairs of another country “but this matter must be reconsidered because it affects Americans, and it also affects us”.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, traveled to Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican border city opposite El Paso, on Monday to offer support to the families of Mexican citizens killed and wounded in the attack. On Sunday Ebrard said his government considered the 21-year-old shooting suspect a terrorist and would consider charging him over the “barbaric act”.
Mexican officials believe the attack deliberately targeted the Latino community. “The intentionality of the attack against the Mexicans and the Latino community in El Paso is frightening. NO to hate speech. NO to xenophobic discourse,” Mexico’s ambassador to the US, Martha Bárcena, tweeted on Sunday.
On Monday, Mexican newspapers carried a series of scathing cartoons that partly blamed Donald Trump for encouraging such hatred. One, in the Milenio newspaper, showed the US president breathing fire onto a bundle of matches.
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In lieu of introducing firearms restrictions following back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Trump called for “red flag” laws.
The National Rifle Association, the powerful firearms lobbying group, has opposed the laws in the past, both for domestic abusers and as part of a broader effort to combat mass shootings.
In April, the group opposed an expansion of the Violence Against Women Act to prevent people convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence or stalking charge from purchasing a firearm. The law also closed the “boyfriend loophole,” ensuring unmarried victims of domestic violence would have similar protections.
In May, the NRA came out against a suggestion that cities and towns should enact laws to temporarily remove firearms from people deemed to be a threat, made by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham said he did not support the legislation at the federal level.
All of the top 10 recipients of National Rifle Association donations are Republican Senators, according to the watchdog group Public Citizen.