Obama's Gun Plan Could Impact Weapons Trafficking

Jan 17, 2013

President Barack Obama called for a series of laws and restrictions that would overhaul the nation’s gun laws on Wednesday. Some of those steps could have an impact on weapons trafficking across the border into Mexico.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs a series of executive orders about the administration's new gun law proposals as children who wrote letters to the White House about gun violence, (L-R) Hinna Zeejah, Taejah Goode, Julia Stokes and Grant Fritz, look on in the Eisenhower Executive Office building, on January 16, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Among the recommendations, the president said he will ask Congress to create a federal firearms trafficking law. Right now, one of the closest regulations to that is a straw-purchasing law whose sentencing guidelines, law enforcement believe do not match the crime.

What do gun laws look like in Mexico?

Eric Olson is with the Woodrow Wilson Center, a think-tank that has studied cross-border weapons trafficking. He says the president was vague, but Olson said federal prosecutors need a trafficking law.

"It gives them a more direct tool for attacking the problem of trafficking," Olson said.

Obama also called for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks and limiting gun magazines to 10 rounds. Those would also have an impact on cross-border trafficking.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has said Mexico recovered 68,000 guns that came from the U.S. between 2007 and 2011. The seized guns showed a preference for rifles like variants of the AR-15 and AK-47.

"I also believe that most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale," Obama said.

One last restriction Obama asked for: outlawing possession of armor-piercing rounds. In some states, their import and manufacturing are the only illegal elements of the ammunition.