Here is an excerpt from Catherine E. Shoichet's Associated Press article:
"The United States should reinstate a Clinton-era ban on assault weapons to prevent such guns from reaching Mexican drug cartels, former officials from both countries said in a report released Tuesday. The group, which includes two former U.S. ambassadors to Mexico, also said the U.S. should do more to stop the smuggling of firearms and ammunition into Mexico by stepping up investigations of gun dealers and more strictly regulating gun shows. The Binational Task Force on the United States-Mexico Border listed the assault weapons ban as a step the U.S. should take immediately to improve security in both countries. The last ban expired in 1994." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I posted on this topic back in April in response to a Newsweek article that touched on the possible reinstatement of the Clinton-era assault weapons ban. My opinion and research on this topic hasn't changed, so I'll repost it here.
The verbiage in the 1994 legislation identifies 19 firearms that qualify as assault weapons under the ban. The legislation also details the features that certain weapons have that also qualify them as assault weapons, but for brevity's sake, I'll stick to the 19 named firearms. They include the Uzi; Steyr AUG; Galil; FN/FAL, FN/FAR, and FNC; North China Industries 56, 84, 86, 320, AKM, and AKS; Polytechnologies AK-47, AK-47/S, AKS; Mitchell Arms AK; SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12; Colt AR-15; Intratec TEC-9, TEC-DC9, and TEC-22; Beretta AR-70; and the Street Sweeper/Striker 12 (including USAS 12). The majority of these firearms are 5.56 caliber, although assault rifle calibers can range from 5.45mm to 7.62mm.
So what kinds of firearms are going to Mexico? The ATF has analyzed firearms recovered in Mexico from 2005-2008 and has identified the following weapons most commonly used by Mexican DTOs: 9mm pistols; .38-caliber revolvers; 5.7mm pistols; .223-caliber rifles; 7.62mm rifles; and .50 caliber rifles. Specifically, certain DTOs are fond of the Fabrique Nationale (FN) FiveSeven pistol and the FN-P90, as well as the Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle.
As most anyone can tell, most of the weapons on the original 1994 ban list are not the ones going to Mexico. Yes, the AK-47 (pictured) and the AR-15 are very popular with the DTOs. However, as I've previously posted, you don't need a whole AK-47 from the manufacturer to get an AK-47, as parts kits for assault weapons are legally available in the US. According to the Impact Guns Online Superstore website, "[parts] kits are what's left from real AK-47, or AK-47 rifles that were cut in half to destroy them as weapons. Those parts are legal to import since they are not a gun. They are a great inexpensive source of spare parts for your AK, since many AK-47 parts are interchangeable between models. These kits are also made back into legal rifles in the US with American made receivers and semi automatic trigger parts. This is a fun project for those who can do it, but it takes lots of tools and knowledge of metalworking to do a good job. Many of the AK-47 rifles you'll see at a [US] Gun Shop or Gun Show will have been made from these parts kits." The kits and parts for other assault weapons, such as the AR-15, can be legally purchased on numerous websites that are US-based.
So, bottom line, between non-assault weapons, legal parts kits, and the straw purchase method, renewing the assault weapons ban - or enacting other types of gun control laws - would serve more as window dressing than an actual deterrent to the southbound flow of guns.