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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Holder - Assault Weapons Ban Would Help Mexico

With the flurry of action in the General Assembly this week I did not want to let this news pass without some comment.

At a press conference held yesterday, acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the completion of the final phase of DEA's "Operation Xcellerator," a nationwide operation targeting the Sinaloa drug trafficking cartel in Mexico that led to more than 750 arrests.

At the press conference Holder was asked a series of questions by a reporter (the audio of the questions played by Cam Edwards last night on Cam and Company leads me to believe he is a foriegn reporter) about Mexico being interested in the U.S. renewing its enforcement of "assault weapons regulations." Holder said "President Obama indicated during the campaign there are just a few gun related changes we would like to make and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons". Holder suggested that re-instituting a ban on the sale of "assault weapons" would help reduce the bloodshed in Mexico by saying "I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum."

When asked by a different reporter for a time table for a renewal of the ban, Holder responded "It's something as I said that the President talked about during the campaign. There are obviously a number of things that are..that have been taking up a substantial amount of his time and so I'm not sure exactly what the seqencing will be it is something however that we actually still think would be an appropriate thing to do."

According to Holder, U.S. officials have a responsibility to make sure Mexican police "are not fighting substantial numbers of weapons, or fighting against AK-47s or other similar kinds of weapons that have been flowing to Mexico."

Like Dave Kopel told Cam Edwards later on Cam and Company last night "Don't say we didn't warn you." But I do sense a pattern here. In the past, most of the talk has been about getting these guns out of the hands of criminal on our streets. But yesterday, Holder talked about how changing US law would help Mexico. The New York Times picked up this theme too.

Is this a new approach are just an addition to the same old tired arguments?

Also, Holder used some talking points in his response when he replied "There are just a few gun related changes we would like to make and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons." He used the same language in his response to Senator Tom Coburn in his confirmation hearings (clip below).

Hat tip to Sebastian for the link to the NBC News story and to Cam Edwards of for running this story last night at the top of the program.

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