Monterey Park advocates for new gun laws as city and state officials announce proposals at event

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Monterey Park and CA officials advocate for new gun laws at city event
The Monterey Park community is taking action in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at a dance studio that left eleven people dead three months ago.

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- The Monterey Park community is taking action in the wake of the mass shooting at a dance studio that left 11 people dead three months ago.

Officials gathered in the city on Monday to discuss proposed state legislation aiming to curb gun violence.

"One in five people in America have had family members fatally shot. I am one of those people," said LaNaisha Edwards of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.

Edwards says two of her brothers were murdered. On Monday, she joined officials in announcing new proposed laws they hope will reduce the number of firearms.

"In 2023 alone, we've had 130 mass shootings so far this year. And it's April. And tragically one of the more recent ones was right here in Monterey Park," said Cristine DeBerry of Prosecutors Alliance.

In the last 12 months of available data from the LAPD, the number of shootings in the city of Los Angeles has reached more than 1,200.

Officials say one issue is there are people who legally shouldn't have a gun, but it's difficult to track them down.

"Our current system for removing firearms at a time of conviction lacks enforcement and enforcement mechanisms as a result, as of January 2023, there was a backlog of nearly 24,000 cases," said Assemblymember Mike Fong of Monterey Park.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said one of the proposed bills would not allow a case to be closed until all firearms used have been turned in.

"What this bill would do, is actually, the case would not be finished, it will not be closed and resolved until all the weapons have been turned in. So it becomes a commonsense approach to this rather than have to go retroactively," Gascón said.

Another proposed law would stop law enforcement agencies from selling surplus weapons.

The proposals come as Monterey Park is still hurting from the mass shooting three months ago that left 11 people dead.

"Monterey Park, in light of the recent tragedy, has been transformed and it has become a symbol of change," said Monterey Park Mayor Jose Sanchez.

The change is a welcomed development for people like Edwards, who had already been fighting for change in gun laws.

"America is the only country in the world that regularly experiences mass shootings. It doesn't have to be that way," she said.