WATCH: Padilla Joins President Biden in Monterey Park to Highlight Federal Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence￼
MONTEREY PARK, CA — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) today joined President Joe Biden during his visit to Monterey Park, California to deliver remarks focused on federal efforts to reduce gun violence and to urge Congress to pass stronger gun safety laws. In January, a gunman killed 11 people at a dance studio in Monterey Park.
During his remarks, Padilla recalled the tragedy that took place in Monterey Park two months prior and honored the lives of those lost that day. He also applauded President Biden for the new Executive Orders he issued to expand background checks, further analyze the marketing of guns to children, and increase resources for communities in the wake of mass shootings. Padilla then called on Congress to pass more gun safety legislation to reduce gun violence.
“We have a gun violence epidemic in America,” said Senator Padilla. “The gun industry continues to work overtime to create a culture of chaos, because to them, American lives are worth less than the profits they make on the guns that they sell. […] But last year, under President Biden’s leadership, Congress broke the stranglehold of the gun lobby when we passed meaningful gun safety legislation for the first time in nearly three decades. […] We can [continue to] honor those who were taken from us, by taking action to prevent future incidents of gun violence; we can and must save lives.”
Senator Padilla is a staunch advocate for commonsense, life-saving gun safety reforms. In June 2022, Padilla voted in favor of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The law is the most significant gun safety legislation in almost thirty years and helps to keep guns away from abusers, improve background checks, and increase state funding for the implementation of red flag laws. Padilla most recently led 27 of his Senate colleagues in reintroducing the Keep Americans Safe Act, renewing efforts to ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Last month, Senator Padilla welcomed Councilman Henry Lo, the former Mayor of Monterey Park, as his guest to President Biden’s State of the Union Address to Congress to advocate for additional federal action to combat gun violence.
Senator Padilla believes there is still far more to do to keep our communities safe from gun violence—including expanding background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Padilla’s remarks, as delivered, are below and HERE.
Good afternoon, Monterey Park. Good afternoon.
It is a solemn honor to be back in Monterey Park today, here alongside so many friends and colleagues, including Representative Judy Chu and Supervisor Solis, who we just heard from. But also first responders, with community members, with friends and loved ones of those wounded or taken from us in January.
And it is my privilege, Mr. President, yes he can hear me, it is my privilege Mr. President, to welcome you back to California — though I must say it has too often in the shadow of tragedy and heartbreak.
Today we gather in Monterey Park — a proud, and diverse, and welcoming community.
Two months ago, it was here that families gathered to celebrate with good food and lively music on the eve of Lunar New Year, and eagerly awaited calls from loved ones wishing them good fortune in the new year.
But instead, the families of twenty of our neighbors, after a night of horror, received a different type of call.
That night, as we know, a lone gunman entered the Star Ballroom and claimed eleven lives, while injuring nine others, taking from us parents and grandparents, and making our AAPI community, in particular, live in even more fear for their lives.
Now there’s no denying it: We have a gun violence epidemic in America.
The gun industry continues to work overtime to create a culture of chaos, because to them, American lives are worth less than the profits they make on the guns that they sell.
But last year, under President Biden’s leadership, Congress broke the stranglehold of the gun lobby when we passed meaningful gun safety legislation for the first time in nearly three decades.
But today, as we gather, not just to remember, we can celebrate the continued leadership of President Biden with his historic Executive Actions to enforce background checks, to further analyze, get this, to further analyze the despicable tactic of marketing guns to children, that the gun lobby is engaged in. But also to make sure to surge resources for communities like this in the wake of mass shootings.
Despite the good that these Executive Orders will bring, as we all know, there will still be more work to do.
That includes bringing back universal background checks; Absolutely. And as Supervisor Solis just mentioned, we should follow the example of then-Senator Biden and our own Senator Diane Feinstein, for their work in 1994 in banning the sale of assault weapons, and, we should ban high capacity magazines as well.
Now we don’t just remind ourselves of these proven policies, lightly, we know the work that we have cut out for us.
So we are very clear-eyed in knowing the opposition that we continue to encounter from Republican Members in Congress who stand in the way of these commonsense gun safety measures.
And it would be easy, as we have in trauma after tragedy after trauma after tragedy, after so many years, to feel hopeless.
But if ever, the United States of America needed to find a source of strength, it is found right here in the community of Monterey Park, California.
Just think about what we saw, what the nation saw, in the days and weeks after the tragedy in January. What we saw was remarkable resilience.
We saw the strength of those who rallied this community, like my guest at this year’s State of the Union Address, the former Mayor, Henry Lo, give him a round of applause. Along with the new mayor, the entire council, all the leaders of this community, elected or otherwise, who came together to call for calm and healing for so many families.
We saw strength in this very Boys and Girls Club, who honored those lost by celebrating Lunar New Year, and giving kids a chance and a place to play, or to cry, and to heal.
We saw strength in the waves of community members who gathered to build a memorial outside the Star Ballroom, where neighbors could come together to comfort one another and to process the tragedy together.
You see, as we heal, and it’s a process, it will continue to take time, but as we come together to heal, we know, just as President Biden knows, that the pain and the heartbreak may diminish over time, but it will never completely go away.
But we can honor those who were taken from us, by taking action to prevent future incidents of gun violence; we can and must save lives. We know what to do, we need the will of Republican Members of Congress to help us do it.
And we can honor those lost by reclaiming the sacred spaces and celebrations, and by embracing the people and places that will always make Monterey Park strong and special.
Thank you all for being here today, thank you for having me, let’s welcome President Biden.