Monday, January 31, 2011

Secretary of State On Visit To Mexico City

Hillary Rodham Clinton promises “additional tools” for ATF to control arms sales

Mexico City – Responding to questions about alleged arms trafficking of weapons obtained through “straw purchases,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised “additional tools” for the ATF to combat American FFL's in their alleged sales to straw purchasers for drug cartel smugglers.

On a visit to Patricia Espinosa, Mexico Foreign Affairs Minister, she fieled numerous questions about the American perception that the Mexican justice system is inadequate for the challenges facing the two nations in the wake of nearly 40,000 drug-related deaths in the past 4 years.

One question in particular concerned allegations of American gun dealers' supplying assault weapons for drug cartel smugglers in Mexico.

The following exchange is reprinted from for the week of January 31:

QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, the ATF is seeking emergency authority to require gun dealers near the border to report multiple purchases of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines. The ATF had asked to have this permission by January 5th. Do you – is that something the Administration is pushing for? Is there any sign they’re going to get that?

And as a second question, I was just wondering if you could talk a little more about the challenges. As you mentioned, the Mexican Government has been doing a big reform of their judicial system, but there seems to be a lot of difficulties in terms of getting convictions – the jails and so on. What’s your message to the authorities on that? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the second question is an easy one. Just stay with it. It is hard. And they’re changing they’re system. They’re going from an inquisitorial system to an open system, and that’s a sea change. And that takes a lot of training and a lot of effort. But there’s no alternative. And the Mexican Government recognizes that and is moving forward.

With respect to the ATF’s request, the Administration is working that request and is very committed to doing what can be done in an appropriate regulatory framework so that it isn’t challenged and it is sustainable. And we hope that we’ll have some available additional tools for the ATF in a short period of time.

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