Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports

President Joe Biden is scheduled to discuss his efforts to reduce gun violence during a visit to Monterey Park on Tuesday.

The White House announced Biden’s trip on March 8.

Monterey Park is still recovering from the Lunar New Year shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Jan. 21 that left 11 people dead and nine injured. Those who died, six men and five women, ranged in age from 57 to 76.

At the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra, Brandon Tsay, whose family owns the studio, confronted and disarmed the gunman — Huu Can Tran of Hemet, who was armed with a semi-automatic pistol — likely preventing a second massacre. Tran fled the scene and was found the next day in Torrance, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

During his State of the Union address on Feb. 7, Biden praised Tsay: “He thought he was going to die, but then he thought about the people inside. He saved lives. It’s time we do the same as well. Ban assault weapons now. Ban them now — once and for all.”

Tsay attended the speech at the U.S. Capitol as a guest of First Lady Jill Biden. It is not known whether the president, who had a telephone conversation with Tsay shortly after the shooting, will meet with him during the Monterey Park visit.

The trip will be Biden’s first to the Los Angeles area since Oct. 12-14 when he visited a Metro construction site, spoke at a political fundraiser and at Irvine Valley College.

Biden is scheduled to be in San Diego on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss the Australia-U.K.-U.S. partnership known as AUKUS.

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Monterey Park on Jan. 25 to pay respects to the victims and meet with their families. She also spoke about the need for more restrictions on assault weapons.

“We will always, as a compassionate nation, mourn for the loss and pray for those who survive in their recovery. But we must also require that leaders of nations who have the ability and the power and the responsibility to do something, that they act,” Harris said.

This week, the Monterey Park City Council voted unanimously to support Senate Bill 14: Age 21 Act, Senate Bill 25: Assault Weapons Ban of 2023, and California Senate Bill 2, prohibiting a person from carrying a concealed firearm or carrying a loaded firearm in public, according to The San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Last week, the council directed the city manager and city attorney to amend the Municipal Code to reflect Los Angeles County’s zoning regulations outlining a 1,000-foot buffer zone between firearms dealers and sensitive areas, and between firearms dealers and other firearms dealers.

“I think the other council members and I feel a deep responsibility to do anything within our power to prevent that kind of tragedy, not only here at Monterey Park, but wherever we can so other communities don’t have to experience the same thing,” said Councilmember Thomas Wong.

Regarding Biden’s visit, Wong said, “We were honored to received the vice president  when she came to visit after the shooting, and we’re honored to receive the president next week. We definitely want to talk about continuing resources for the community…. which we know we will need for a long time to come.”

On March 8, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), a former mayor of Monterey Park, and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) introduced H.Res. 200 to condemn the shooting in Monterey Park and a subsequent shooting in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, that killed seven people and injured one.

The resolution honors the memories of those who lost their lives in the assaults and expresses sympathy for the impacted family members and communities. It also reiterates a commitment in Congress to help Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, and all communities nationwide, prevent gun violence.

“While we cannot begin to process the pain these families are going through from these unspeakable acts of violence in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park during the Lunar New Year, we can continue honoring their memory through this resolution,” said Chu, who serves as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “During a time that Asian Americans have been experiencing an increase in hatred and xenophobic attacks, it is vital for Congress to remind the Asian American community they have our support and that we must press forward on passing additional gun safety legislation to ensure the safety of our communities.”

“Over the course of less than 48 hours in January, the horrific mass shootings in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park claimed 18 precious lives, forever altered two beloved and close-knit communities, and compounded the sense of fear and insecurity that the Asian American community is experiencing amid a disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate,” said Eshoo, who is a member of CAPAC. “By honoring the memories of the deceased, I’m hopeful this resolution will provide some solace to my constituents and recommit Congress to addressing gun violence and preventing future tragedies.”

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