Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador urged the United States to promote gun control legislation on Monday, Aug. 5, in reaction to a weekend mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, claiming at least 22 lives, including eight Mexican citizens.
“We are very respectful of what other governments decide but we think that these lamentable events that occurred in the United States should lead to reflection, analysis, and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of arms,” López Obrador said at a press conference.
“It is not our disposition to involve ourselves in the internal affairs of any country, but this topic should be considered again because it affects many people, in this case Americans as well as Mexicans,” he added.
El Paso sits directly across the southern border from Cuidad Juarez in Mexico.
On Sunday, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard called the shooting an act of terrorism against Mexicans in the United States and said the Mexican government will look into whether there is enough evidence to solicit the extradition of the gunman to face charges in Mexico.
The Mexican government’s request comes at a time of unprecedented violence in Mexico as drug cartels continue to fight over territory and smuggling routes.
Murders in Mexico jumped in the first half of the year to the highest on record. There were 14,603 murders from January to June, versus the 13,985 killings registered in the first six months of 2018, according to data posted over the weekend on the website of Mexico’s national public security office.
Mexico is on course to surpass the 29,111 murders of last year, an all-time high.
The country has been struggling with violence for years as governments have fought brutal drug cartels, often by removing their leaders. This has resulted in gang fragmentation and increasingly vicious internal struggles.