SACRAMENTO, CA – Appearing on the Senate Floor today with one of the faces of the horrific gun violence that has plagued Mexico, Senator Kevin de León applauded the vote that passed his Senate Joint Resolution 10 (SJR10) calling for comprehensive measures aimed at stopping the obscene flow of weapons from the U.S. into Mexico that fuels that violence.
Before debate on the resolution, Senator de León introduced Mexican exile and peace activist Saul Reyes Salazar. The Reyes Salazar Family has lost six family members in the last two-and-a-half years because of their outspokenness about the suffering endured by innocent, everyday citizens in Mexico at the hands of violent drug cartels.
“You listen to the horrific events that Mr. Reyes Salazar’s family has endured and you realize that we must do what we can to help stop this senseless violence,” said Senator De León. “This resolution is a small step but highlights the giant challenge before us. Weapons flow freely from the U.S. to Mexico and provide the fuel for the reckless violence that plagues innocent people on both sides of the border.”
Mr. Reyes Salazar was recently granted political asylum by the United States. He comes from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, where he helped to found the municipality of Guadalupe in the 1980s. His sister, Josefina Reyes, was a prominent activist for human rights until she was murdered January 3, 2010. The family continued her quest but several other family members were subsequently killed. Fearing for his own life but determined to continue working on stopping the violence that has massacred his family, he came to the United States and helped to found the organization Mexicans in Exile, in El Paso, Texas.
SJR 10 urges the President and the Congress of the United States to pursue a comprehensive approach to stem the trafficking of illicit United States firearms to Mexico. “Lawlessness is rampant on our southern border and most people are not aware that the illegal trafficking of U.S. firearms is fueling the violence,” said Senator De León. Thursday’s Senate Floor vote followed a community meeting in Los Angeles last Fall, which examined California’s role as a pipeline for guns and ammunition to the Mexican drug cartels and how to improve efforts to stem such gun and ammunition trafficking. Mexican drug trafficking organizations have been terrorizing citizens in both the United States and Mexico, and thousands of families have lost loved ones to gun violence. These tragedies are being fueled by the flow of illegal weapons and ammunition across the border. The resolution now moves to the Assembly.