Monterey Park Considers “Firearm Protection Zone” Following Mass Shooting Tragedy

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Monterey Park City Council is deliberating on the implementation of a “Firearm Protection Zone” in the wake of a devastating mass shooting incident. The proposed ordinance aims to regulate firearms dealers in the city and create a buffer zone that separates them from sensitive areas such as residential neighborhoods and schools. This move comes after a tragic shooting spree at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, where 11 innocent lives were lost and nine others were injured. The shooter, Huu Can Tran, used a semi-automatic handgun that was purchased in Monterey Park but not registered in California.

Councilmember Thomas Wong stressed the urgent need to address the issue of both legal and illegal guns in the city. With less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States already owns 46% of civilian-owned guns globally, making firearm regulation a matter of great concern. The council’s staff report acknowledges the controversial nature of firearm regulation but emphasizes the need to take measures to prevent further tragedies.

There are currently only a few gun retailers in or near Monterey Park, namely Caps Armory on Monterey Pass Road and Big 5 Sporting Goods on Atlantic Boulevard. EuroArms, located in the neighboring city of Alhambra, was where the gunman made his purchase. While there was no official comment from EuroArms or Caps Armory regarding the proposed ordinance, it should be noted that these businesses operate outside the jurisdiction of the proposed protection zone.

If adopted, the ordinance would effectively limit legal gun sales in Monterey Park, a mostly suburban area characterized by residential streets and school zones. It is important to highlight that the proposed zone does not shut down existing retailers, nor does it prevent new ones from opening. However, should these businesses choose to renovate or make upgrades requiring city permits, they would then be subject to the regulations outlined in the ordinance, potentially facing closure.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the Monterey Park City Council has shown support for various gun reform bills at the local, state, and federal levels. They unanimously voted to endorse Senate Bill 14, which raises the age limit to 21 for gun purchases, Senate Bill 25, an assault weapons ban set to go into effect in 2023, and California Senate Bill 2, which prohibits carrying concealed or loaded firearms in public.

The council’s commitment to gun reform extends beyond legislative support. They directed the city management and attorney to amend the Monterey Park Municipal Code to align with Los Angeles County’s zoning regulations, which include a 1,000-foot buffer zone requirement around firearms dealers. In addition, an executive order from the White House urges compliance with background check requirements and encourages the enforcement of “red flag” laws, allowing residents to petition the court for temporary gun confiscation from individuals deemed dangerous.

Prominent figures such as Representative Judy Chu and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have also taken steps to address gun violence. Chu’s proposed Language Access to Gun Violence Prevention Strategies Act aims to reduce barriers caused by language and cultural differences in implementing red-flag laws. Gillibrand introduced the Fair Legal Access Grants Act, which helps family members and community members navigate the legal system when seeking temporary disarmament of individuals.

Monterey Park councilmember Thomas Wong believes that the “Firearm Protection Zone” is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to restricting gun sales within the city. He recognizes the limitations faced by smaller cities in curbing illegal firearm possession and looks to federal and state governments to lead the effort.

Monterey Park is determined to honor the lives lost in the mass shooting tragedy and ensure the safety of its residents through comprehensive gun reform measures. The proposed “Firearm Protection Zone” represents a proactive step towards preventing future gun-related incidents in the community.

Ryan Scott
Author: Ryan Scott

Just a guy

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