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He Didn't Just Lie About Arizona: Calderon Fibbed About Assault Weapons, Too

In a very rare event, the president of Mexico addressed a joint session of the United States Congress last Thursday. Unfortunately, Felipe Calderon abused the opportunity by lying to the assembled representatives, senators, and government officials for the express benefit of his faltering country.

Twice.

It has already been widely reported that Calderon misrepresented Arizona's new immigration enforcement law. His own nation's laws punishing even poorer immigrants surging up from Central America are far more draconian, but the obvious hypocrisy apparently left no foul taste in his mouth.

What was more pathetic about his speech in front of our government is that he attacked laws Americans have passed to protect our citizens from the kidnappers, drug dealers, and murderers that are Calderon's most worrisome export ... and he received a standing ovation from Democrats for his effort.

Homeland Security Secretary (and former Arizona governor) Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually leapt to their feet in agreement with Calderon -- objecting to a simple ten-page law they admit to not having read and which mirrors U.S. laws they will not enforce.

This was all widely seen and covered. Calderon's second blatant lie, however, although greeted with another standing ovation from Democrats, curiously has received very little coverage and no critical opposition whatsoever.

That deception came as Calderon attempted to further meddle in U.S. affairs, declaring that Congress should reinstate the failed Clinton-era assault weapons ban to help in his battle against Mexican drug cartels:

"There is one issue where Mexico needs your cooperation. And that is stopping the flow of assault weapons and other deadly arms across the border," Calderon said to a standing ovation from U.S. lawmakers.

Calderon said the increase in violence in Mexico had coincided with the 2004 lifting of a U.S. assault weapons ban.

The 10-year ban on the sale of assault weapons to civilians expired without being extended by Congress. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the administration favors reinstituting the ban, though gun rights groups oppose it.

Calderon said he respects Americans' Second Amendment right to bear arms, but said many of the guns are getting into the hands of criminals.

Mexico has seized around 75,000 guns and assault weapons in the last three years, Calderon said. He said more than 80 percent of them came from the United States, and noted there were more than 7,000 gun shops along the border.

"I would ask Congress to help us, with respect, and to understand how important it is for us that you enforce current laws to stem the supply of these weapons to criminals and consider reinstating the assault weapons ban," he said.

President Calderon's assertion that Mexico has seized around 75,000 guns and assault weapons in the last three years -- and that more than 80 percent of them came from the United States -- is a bald-faced lie. It simply is not remotely connected to the truth.

It is perhaps not surprising at all that the talking point used by Calderon was first trotted out by the Obama administration almost a year ago. Calderon's 80 percent lie is simply a variation of Obama's 90 percent lie, a falsehood that was gutted by the very government agency that traces the guns captured in Mexico.

Bill McMahon, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, revealed last July that of the 100,000 weapons recovered by Mexican authorities during their drug war with the cartels, only 18,000 were determined to have been manufactured, sold, or imported from the United States.

Of those 18,000 weapons recovered and tracked to origins in the United States, just 7,900 came from sales by licensed gun dealers.

Just 8 percent of the weapons recovered by Mexican authorities came from U.S. gun shops, and the majority of those are suspected to be illegal strawman purchases, where people who passed federal background checks bought firearms and illegally transferred them to criminals.

Meanwhile, we know that 100 percent of cartel guns traced to the United States got into Mexico because of criminal behavior. Will passing another law -- one that did not deter crime in the ten years it existed previously -- actually stem the flow of illegal guns, when criminals are already engaged in far more serious crimes? In simple terms, Calderon's call to resume a flawed "assault weapons" ban is laughable, because cartels simply are not obtaining real assault weapons from the United States.

Real assault weapons are fully automatic machine guns and submachine guns, and they are heavily regulated in the United States.

Of the estimated 250,000 in the United States in civilian hands, roughly half are registered to collectors and the other half belong to law enforcement agencies. Thanks to another law passed during the Clinton administration, legally transferable machine guns have become nothing less than investment properties.They are so rare that they often command prices in the thousands or tens of thousands, with some particularly rare specimens valued at more than $100,000 each. These firearms are heavily secured and closely watched by the government, and do not end up in the hands of drug cartels.

Instead of invading the fortified storage vaults of heavily armed and typically secretive American collectors, Mexican cartels simply buy military machine guns on the open black market at a fraction of the cost and with far less hassle than they will typically encounter attempting to purchase a U.S. gun and smuggle it over the border.

Fully automatic AK-series assault rifles are particularly popular with the cartels, as are full-auto M16s that dealers purchase from corrupt government officials in Central and South American countries ... including Mexico itself. Yes, it is an accepted fact that more machine guns (typically M16s) are sold to cartels from inside the Mexican military and police forces than are smuggled across the border from the United States.

Perhaps Felipe Calderon should clean up his own government's murderous corruption before casting aspersions upon a nation that has provided continental welfare to his flailing state for far too long.

And it would be nice if American Democrats would stop casting aspersions on the U.S., too.