One year ago today, during Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park, California, 11 innocent people were killed in a heinous act of gun violence that struck at the heart and soul of one of the largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in our nation. In mere moments, friends and families gathering together in joy and hope were devastated by a senseless, horrific mass shooting. Two days later, this tragedy was compounded by another. As we mourned with the community of Monterey Park, we learned a gunman killed seven people in Half Moon Bay, California. Jill and I continue to pray for the families of the victims and many others traumatized by these attacks.
These shootings shocked the conscience of our nation. In the weeks that followed at my State of the Union address, Jill and I were honored to host Brandon Tsay, who heroically disarmed the Monterey Park shooter and prevented further bloodshed. I also traveled to Monterey Park, where I spent hours meeting with families who lost loved ones, and announced an Executive Order containing new actions to crack down on the epidemic of gun violence tearing our country apart. We launched the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and my administration is implementing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—the most meaningful gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years—which strengthens background checks, expands the use of red flag laws, improves access to mental health services for students dealing with the trauma of gun violence, and more.
In the wake of the tragic shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California has also taken action, passing more than 20 new gun safety laws and investing in proven solutions like gun violence intervention programs. Other states should follow their lead.
Importantly, we also need Congress to do its part. It’s long past time we banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, ended immunity from liability for gun manufacturers, passed a national red flag law, enacted universal background checks, and required safe storage of guns. We cannot tackle the gun violence epidemic in America while Republicans in Congress sit on their hands.