• Candles flickering in the night next to offerings

      Candles and offerings from the scene of MPK’s official Vigil, Jan. 24, 2023 (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Tang)

      MONTEREY PARK — ColoradoBoulevard.net:

      Six months after the tragedy in Monterey Park, Rep. Chu joins Sen. Gillibrand to announce a bicameral legislative package to address gun violence and keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

      By News Desk

      On Friday, July 21, six months after the mass shooting in Star Dance Studio, Representative Judy Chu (CA-28) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are introducing a bicameral legislative package to decrease gun violence in America—comprised of Rep. Chu’s Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act, and Sen. Gillibrand’s Fair Legal Access Grants (FLAG) Act.

      Often, the perpetrators of mass shootings and dangerous crimes, including the shooter in Monterey Park, have a known past of threatening or violent rhetoric or behavior. Individuals in crisis pose a higher risk to themselves and others if they have easy access to firearms. Law enforcement, community members, and health care professionals can file a red flag petition, known as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), to help get guns out of the hands of troubled or dangerous individuals. Research shows that at least two-thirds of mass shooters exhibited behaviors that elicited concern in family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, or others.

      Red flag laws help keep guns away from troubled individuals

       Red flag laws have deterred at least 58 potential mass shootings and other types of gun violence in California alone, and nearly all states have now applied for grant funding provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 to implement red flag laws.

      Unfortunately, not all communities are aware of how they can exercise gun safety tools available to them, like red flag laws. The lengthy legal process may deter people from seeing their petition through, allowing dangerous or troubled individuals to remain armed.

      The Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act would ensure that outreach about red flag laws, gun violence prevention, and gun safety by federal government agencies—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—include robust in-language materials, outreach to Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities, and culturally competent education to community providers and law enforcement.

      The Fair Legal Access Grants (FLAG) Act would help keep our communities safe by ensuring that any person filing a red flag petition has access to the legal representation, counsel, and resources needed to be heard and successfully file an ERPO or “red flag law” to temporarily prevent a person in crisis from accessing firearms.

      Rep. Judy Chu said:

      To keep guns out of the hands of those who are a clear danger to themselves or others and to protect communities across the country, everyone in America, no matter what language they speak, needs equal access to gun safety and prevention strategies. I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with Sen. Gillibrand to strengthen and expand access to “red flag” laws with proven effectiveness at decreasing gun deaths.

      The Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act and FLAG Act would assist family members and other community members in navigating the complicated legal system when seeking to temporarily disarm someone showing signs of violence. By ensuring more communities have the tools to prevent gun violence, we will help honor the Americans we’ve lost in cities and towns across the country—including my hometown of Monterey Park.”

      “Strengthening red flag laws across the country will help make our communities safer – period. All too often, school administrators, law enforcement officers, and everyday people don’t have the time or support needed to navigate our court system and successfully file a red flag claim when they notice an individual with access to firearms exhibiting troubling or potentially dangerous behavior,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “My FLAG Act and the Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act would provide community members with vital tools and services needed to help remove guns from those looking to cause harm to themselves or others.”

      Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said:

      Six months ago, the Monterey Park community tragically endured the deadliest mass shooting in Los Angeles County history, when 11 souls lost their lives, and 9 others were injured.

      I want to thank Congresswoman Chu and Senator Gillibrand for their legislation that will help more residents in Los Angeles County and across the nation access Extreme Risk Protection Orders to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.”

      The Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act would:

      • Provide for competent, community-reviewed, translations of all public facing resources provided by DOJ and HHS related to gun violence prevention strategies;
      • Direct the Attorney General to ensure federal grant applications for funds related to the creation and implementation of extreme risk protection orders and other prevention efforts incorporate meaningful engagement with communities with high numbers of individuals with LEP; and
      • Direct the Attorney General and Secretary of HHS to develop and implement a national public awareness campaign for federally supported gun violence prevention strategies and firearm ownership safety with a focus on outreach and engagement with LEP communities.

      The FLAG Act would provide $50 million in annual funding to states and local governments to provide access to legal counsel and other legal services. Eligible recipients include police departments, district attorney offices, community-based legal aid organizations, and more.

      Both bills have been endorsed by the Giffords Law Center to Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance, and Everytown for Gun Safety.

      The Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act has also been endorsed by the National Immigration Law Center.

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