While delivering what amounted to a eulogy for 11 people killed during a Lunar New Year celebration in a Southern California suburb, Vice President Joe Biden signed an executive order to close loopholes in gun registration.
Biden read off the names of the mostly immigrant victims, remembering the ties to family and community that had brought them to the dance hall in January, as well as the pain that will linger with their loved ones and make the small city yet another in a long line of places made infamous by violence.
“As a nation, we remember them – immigrants from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan — all of whom found a home in America,” Biden said before meeting privately with some of the families at a Boys and Girls Club near the site of the Jan. 21 massacre.
His words set the stage for an executive order that the White House has hailed as a major step forward in gun safety, an order that aims to bring the United States as close to universal background checks as feasible without additional legislation.
Executive order directing Attorney General Merrick Garland to eliminate the legal loophole that allows some sellers to avoid performing background checks on firearms buyers. Any business that sells firearms for profit must now do background checks after Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law during the summer of 2016. Garland will be responsible for determining what kinds of people can legally sell firearms.
Biden Issues Executive Order to Address Gun Violence
The executive order tasked Biden’s cabinet with focusing on public awareness efforts surrounding red flag laws and safe gun storage, and it also urged the Federal Trade Commission to release a report on how firearm makers sell firearms to adults and minors. The measure also asks for his administration to speed up the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
Following a violent start to 2023, in which 164 people have been killed in 110 mass shootings (incidents in which four or more individuals have been shot), the President has decided to take action.
While the White House has achieved historic strides on gun legislation, the rash of mass shootings this year has inspired a renewed pressure campaign from gun safety advocates. The recent partisan divide in Congress has left gun control advocates demanding more action from Vice President Biden. For months, activists have been pressuring administration officials to issue Tuesday’s executive order.
During his remarks, Vice President Biden reiterated his previous demands for expanded legislative action to reduce gun violence.
Despite having some of the strictest firearm restrictions and a gun mortality rate 37% lower than the national average, two of the three deadliest mass shootings this year have taken place in California, according to the Gun Violence Archive. An angry employee killed seven people at a mushroom farm in remote Half Moon Bay only days after the incident in Monterey Park.
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Vice President Biden to Meet With First Responders and Relatives of Victims
The semi-automatic weapon used in the shooting in Monterey Park was likely obtained illegally, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.
After the Supreme Court invalidated New York’s concealed carry statute in June, state leaders around the country called for further action from the federal government. There have been additional challenges to state gun laws as a result of this, including California’s lengthy ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as a provision preventing the purchase of semi-automatic weapons by anyone aged 18 to 20.
As he has done many times before after major tragedies, Vice President Biden planned to meet with first responders and relatives of victims after his statement on 14 March. Much like he was in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, a little over a year ago, he will be surrounded by an outpouring of enormous grief.
On the other hand, his final word on 14 March, remarks was a ray of optimism. He has taken comfort from his personal experiences with loss and shared this insight with other survivors and family members along the way.
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