California lawmakers are left looking for answers about what can be done about gun violence following two mass shootings that happened within a couple of days.

Despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the country, California is still grappling with these tragedies.

What You Need To Know

  • Two mass shootings occured in California in a 48-hour period

  • Rep. Judy Chu calls for an end to loopholes in federal gun laws

  • The White House released the first national agenda to address disparitaies in the AAPI community

  • Monterey Park established a Survivors Resources Center for community members

Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park, spoke with “Inside the Issues” host Alex Cohen about the Lunar New Year shooting and what needs to be done to end gun violence in the state and across the country.

A gunman shot at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio Saturday, killing 11 people and injuring nine. He then drove to the Lai Lai Ballroom where his weapon was wrestled away from him by an employee, according to LA County Sheriff Robert Luna. 

“I want to know the motive for this shooter’s killings,” Chu said. “I also want to know how he got these weapons. Were they obtained legally or illegally? We do know the second weapon was illegal, but of course I want to know about that first weapon, that actually did the shooting… and then I want to know his mental state.”

Chu says major contributing factors for the rampant gun violence in the state are the loopholes that exist within the federal gun laws.

For example, people wanting to purchase a gun — but want to avoid the universal background check — can do so by purchasing a gun online, at a gun show or through a private purchase.

“So we don’t know if this shooter [purchased a gun] in, say, Nevada and just carried it across the line,” said Chu. “We don’t know what his steps were.”

The Monterey Park shooting is another grim example of the rise in attacks targeted at the AAPI community. Over the last three years, there has been a rise in violence toward these communities, often because of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House announced the first-ever national strategy to advance equity, justice and opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Chu praised President Joe Biden for issuing an executive order for all federal agencies to come up with strategies to help the AAPI community.

“What’s relevant to this is what the Department of Justice included, which were all the steps to implement the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, to provide resources for victims,” said Chu. “And [a] particularly important one was the fact that they included language access and language translations.”

Chu promises to follow up with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to make sure the policies are being implemented.

Now in a time of recovery, Chu says the most important step the Monterey Park community can take is to help the victims of this tragedy. Many are still in critical condition while worrying about how they’re going to pay the medical bills and keep their jobs.

“They’re dealing with many real-life issues, let alone recovery from a gunshot wound or multiple gunshot wounds,” Chu said.

There is a vigil to honor the victims and families of the mass shooting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday  at Monterey Park City Hall.

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