The United States can help stem the flow of weapons that are used in drug-related violence in Mexico by enforcing a ban on the import of military-style arms, a US lawmaker said.
US Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Western Hemisphere subcommittee, made an appeal Tuesday for enforcement of the ban as Mexico's President Felipe Calderon visits the United States.
The Mexican leader will attend a state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
The ban on importing military-style weapons was adopted as part of the provisions of a 1968 law, but Engel said former president George W. Bush's administration had "quietly abandoned enforcement of the import ban."
"The US civilian firearms market is flooded with imported, inexpensive military-style weapons," Engel said in a statement.
"I urge the Obama administration to enforce the existing ban on imported military-style weapons being trafficked at an alarming rate from the US across the border into Mexico," he added.
Mexican authorities say some 90 percent of the weapons they seize from violent drug cartels originate in the United States and Obama's administration has acknowledged the United States' role in the violence plaguing Mexico.
"A return to enforcement of the existing import ban requires no legislative action and would be a win-win for the United States and Mexico," Engel said. "Starving Mexico's brutal drug cartels of military-style weapons will make all of us in the United States and Mexico much safer."
© AFP 2013