President Obama said in Mexico Thursday that while he continues to back bringing back the expired assault weapons ban, it would be politically difficult to do so.
He called instead for greater enforcement of existing laws despite the fact that, according to Mexican President Filipe Calderon, such weapons have strengthened organized crime groups in Mexico who are fueling border violence and the drug trade.
"I have not backed off at all from my belief that the assault weapons ban makes sense, and I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the second amendment right in our Constitution," he said during a press conference with Calderon.
"Having said that," he continued, "I think none of us are under any illusion that reinstating that ban will be easy. So what we focused on is how we can improve enforcement of our existing law."
Calderon said that Mexico has seen an increase in organized crime since the ban expired; on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said that "ninety percent of all weapons we are seizing in Mexico, Bob, are coming from across the United States" – a comment echoed by both leaders today.
"He is well aware of our problems, and we have described it as it is," Calderon said with regard to Mr. Obama at the press conference.
"We definitely respect the decision of the US Congress and the US people in this regard," the Mexican president said. He acknowledged that the ban "is a politically delicate topic because Americans truly appreciate their Constitutional rights."
Calderon said he is hoping for a solution which respects the rights of the Constitution as well as keeps assault weapons trade at bay.