This post has been corrected. Please see note at the bottom for details.
Diego Luna, the heartthrob Mexican star who reportedly now makes his home part-time in Los Angeles, has a message for President Obama and the National Rifle Assn.: Stop letting guns bought in the U.S. into Mexico.
According to a post by Cecilia Sánchez on our sister blog, La Plaza, Luna is urging Obama to curb sales of guns that could end up in the hands of Mexican narcotics traffickers and other criminals tied to Mexico's rampant drug-related violence, which has claimed some 40,000 lives since 2006. Mexican gun laws are far stricter than those stateside, and leaders south of the border complain that many weapons used by hit men are smuggled from the United States.
Luna, the star of such films as "Y Tu Mamá También"and the upcoming "Contraband" with Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale, joined activists Thursday in Mexico City to launch a cross-border petition drive asking Obama to use existing presidential authority to toughen gun rules without having to ask Congress. Among other things, the petition calls for expanding the “regulatory capacity” of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in areas along the Mexican border.
Political activism is practically a second career for Luna. Along with his friend and fellow actor Gael García Bernal, he has worked on behalf of indigenous people's rights. The two stars also reportedly have committed their film production company, Canana, to help produce a series of documentaries about the hundreds of unsolved slayings of women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
[For the record, 7:56 p.m. Aug. 11: An earlier version of this post stated that the petition Luna supports includes a demand for "reinstating an assault-weapons ban that lapsed in 2004." That information, supplied by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights and social justice organization, to our sister blog La Plaza, was incorrect. The petition doesn't specifically reference the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a renewal of which would need to be passed by Congress, a WOLA spokesperson said. Instead, the petition calls for Obama to enforce the prohibition against the importation of assault weapons and parts manufactured in other countries into the United States -- to prevent such weapons from being bought in the United States and illegally trafficked into Mexico. The spokesperson said that the petition also calls for ordering weapons dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person over a period of five days. And it calls for increasing the regulatory capacity of the ATF in those regions of the United States that supply the weapons contraband to Mexico, especially in border states.]
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There's no denying the power of a star
-- Reed Johnson
Photo: Diego Luna. Credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times