The Obama administration could take immediate action under the 1968 federal Gun Control act to cut off imports into the U.S. of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and “cop-killer” handguns capable of piercing police body armor, contends the Violence Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., based advocacy organization. The center released “Iron River: Gun Violence and Illegal Firearms Trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” a study of how the U.S. civilian firearms market contributes to drug-related violence in Mexico.
“With the stroke of a pen President Obama could immediately stop tens of thousands of foreign-made assault rifles from being dumped onto the U.S. market. These cheap military-style guns, mostly AK-47 variants, are not only being smuggled from the U.S. to Mexico, but are also killing police officers in the United States from Oakland to Miami,” said the center’s Tom Diaz. The report urges “upstream” measures to inhibit the movement of firearms from legal commerce into the illegal trade, as opposed to relying solely on law enforcement efforts, which are aimed “downstream” and focus on apprehending and prosecuting illegal traffickers and criminals after the damage is done. This week, Newsweek reported that the Obama administration, under pressure from the National Rifle Association and congressional Democrats, will not seek to reinstate the federal ban on assault-style weapons that expired in 2004.