Column: White House Needs to Stop Being Wimpy About Gun Rules Tied to Mexico’s Violent Cartels

Allan Lengel
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — What’s it going to take for the White House to figure out that the situation in Mexico — endless bloodshed over money, drugs and power — is an “emergency”?

The ambush of two ICE agents on Tuesday in which one died?  The deadly ambush last March of a woman from the American Consulate and her husband?  The endless murders of tens of thousands of Mexicans including plenty cops?

It’s simply disturbing how Wimpy the White House has been — how it has bowed to NRA.

I’m referring to a very simple rule it refuses to implement. ATF last December announced that it hoped the White House would quickly implement an emergency request  calling for gun dealers in four border states  to report sales of two or more assault weapons to one person within five days.  The idea is to keep better track of the guns and gun traffickers who are helping supply the murderous drug war in Mexico.

The NRA opposes the regulation. So what. The White House needs a backbone. This is an emergency.

Former colleague James Grimaldi of the Washington Post reported on Feb. 5 that the White House had rejected the emergency request, which will delay implementing the regulation for at least two months. The White House claims it wants to be more transparent and get more public feedback.  Michael Isikoff of NBC reported that the White House just didn’t see it as “emergency” under federal rules.

No one expects this to be the magic bullet, so to speak, that will turn things around.  You need lots and lots of things to collectively create a magic bullet.  But this  could help. And it certainly couldn’t hurt.

I spoke to James Cavanaugh, a thoughtful and  respected former ATF official the other day who simply said of the White House: “It’s not a profile in political courage.  Everybody is beating their chest saying how much they want to stop  the slaughter of Mexican citizens down there. ”

“You either need to change the law that describes what an emergency is or change the leader who made the decision that it isn’t.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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