MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- President Joe Biden visited Monterey Park on Tuesday to announce an executive order strengthening several gun measures, using the backdrop of the site of January's mass shooting to heighten the urgency of his message.
On Jan. 21, 11 people were killed and nine others injured during a shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio during a Lunar New Year celebration. After that shooting, the gunman went to the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio in nearby Alhambra, but was disarmed in the lobby by Brandon Tsay, whose family owns the studio.
Tsay was among the guests in first lady Jill Biden's viewing box on Feb. 7 for the president's State of the Union Address.
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Biden arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport around lunchtime, where he was greeted by Tsay and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. The president sported a cap with the presidential seal on it and stepped off Air Force One amid Tuesday's pouring rain. He briefly chatted with the group.
He announced the executive order "with the goal of increasing the number of background checks conducted before firearm sales, moving the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation,'' according to the White House.
The order will instruct the attorney general to ensure that firearm sellers who are ignorant of background check requirements or ignoring them to come in compliance, according to the White House.
"All have lived lives of love, sacrifice, and service for their families, for their community," Biden said during his remarks. "They represent a bigger story. Who we are as Americans embodying the simple truth that our diversity is the strength of this nation."
The order will also direct members of the Cabinet to work with local communities and law enforcement where "red flag'' laws are in effect allowing residents to petition a court to determine if a person presents a public danger, allowing weapons to be temporarily removed from the person's possession.
"Had somebody known about the red flag law, they could have gotten his guns taken away," said Rep. Judy Chu. "But I think hardly anybody in the immigrant community knows about the red flag law, so there clearly has to be some education there."
Biden's order will also direct the departments of Transportation and Justice to work on a plan to reduce the loss or theft of firearms during shipment and bolster the reporting of such losses and thefts. According to the White House, there has been a 250% increase in the number of firearms reported lost or stolen during shipment between federally licensed firearms dealers between 2018 and 2022.
The order will also include various other provisions, including authorizing the public release of inspection records for firearms dealers cited for violating federal firearms laws; accelerating federal law enforcement reporting of ballistics data in hopes of catching shooters; improving federal support for gun violence survivors; and advancing efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons that are undetectable by metal detectors.
Po Murray, the chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance, who traveled from Newtown, Connecticut to Monterey Park for Biden's speech, she is happy with the progress but also wishes Congress would do more.
"It's so tragic that these moments of celebration end up being moments of despair and destruction," said Murray. "It's unfortunate that we're being attacked on a daily basis and Congress is sitting idle with the no sense of urgency. Particularly when guns are now the number leading cause of death for our children and teens."
Biden made his announcement about the executive order during an appearance at the Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley.
The trip was Biden's first to the Los Angeles area since October 2022, when he visited a Metro construction site, spoke at a political fundraiser and at Irvine Valley College.
Biden spent Monday in the San Diego area meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss the Australia-United Kingdom-United States partnership, known as AUKUS.
City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.