Los Angeles, Mar 14 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Tuesday met in Monterey Park, California, with relatives of some of the 11 people who lost their lives in a mass shooting in January and promised new gun control measures.
The president, who hours earlier had signed an executive order to try and restrict gun sales, arrived in the Los Angeles area city accompanied by LA Mayor Karen Bass and by Brandon Tasy, the heretofore relatively anonymous hero who disarmed the lone gunman who earlier had staged the deadly attack on a local dance hall and was in the process of entering another locale, presumably to stage another massacre, during Chinese New Year celebrations.
The president – speaking from the epicenter of the Asian community in Los Angeles County – said that the US for generations has been a place of refuge for people of different races but that the Chinese New Year this year was a day of celebration that was transformed into one of fear and darkness by the gunman, who was also Asian-American.
Biden took advantage of the occasion to express his “sorrow” both to the victims and to the survivors of the massacre, saying “As a nation, we remember them – immigrants from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan – all of whom found a home in America.”
After that, Biden mentioned some of the murdered people, called for a round of applause for Tsay and said that the US will pursue all hate crimes perpetrated against the country’s Asian population.
He also referred to the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a comedy-drama about Asian-Americans, which “made history” at the Academy Awards, taking seven Oscar statuettes in assorted categories.
The president’s executive order is designed to improve mental health support for survivors and relatives of mass shootings during their recovery process.
To do that, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General’s Office will have to present the president with a proposal with that objective in mind before Sept. 15.
In addition, Biden will task US Attorney General Merrick Garland with eliminating a gray area in current gun sales laws whereby some vendors have been able to sell firearms without conducting background checks on the buyers.
“It’s just common sense to check whether someone is a felon, a domestic abuser before they buy a gun,” Biden said.
In this regard, Biden said that his administration will launch information campaigns on the so-called “red flag” laws, which allow authorities to activate legal proceedings to confiscate firearms from people deemed to represent a threat to themselves or others.
In June, it will be a year since Congress approved a limited, but historic, bipartisan agreement to exert greater control over gun sales.
However, that law has encountered opposition from some Republican Party lawmakers, who have argued that it violates people’s constitutional rights.
The president concluded his speech on Tuesday by directing his remarks to those opponents of the law, saying that “None of this absolves Congress from the responsibility of acting. Pass universal background checks. Eliminate gun manufacturer immunity and liability. And I’m determined, once again, to ban assault weapons and high-capacity (ammunition) magazines.”