MONTEREY PARK (CNS) - Local elected officials gathered Monday in Monterey Park, scene of a shooting that left 11 people dead earlier this year, to tout three pieces of proposed state legislation they said would make communities safer from gun violence.
Assemblyman Mike Fong, D-Alhambra, who authored the three bills, said they are critical to counter shootings that are "happening almost daily at schools, grocery stores, churches and dance studios."
"Lawmakers are the ones who have the power to end this plague, and I'm proud to take leadership on this effort to help get weapons off our streets," Fong said in a statement. "I look forward to working in partnership with the Prosecutors Alliance of California and gun safety advocates to pass these measures."
Fong, joined by the nonprofit Prosecutors Alliance of California, District Attorney George Gascón and Monterey Park Mayor Jose Sanchez, held a news conference at Monterey Park City Hall Monday to discuss the bills, which are pending in Sacramento.
Fong said Assembly Bill 732 is aimed at strengthening the process of removing firearms from people who are legally prohibited from possessing them. The bill would prevent a court from closing a case against a criminal defendant unless there is proof that all firearms have been surrendered.
"We know that we have way too many people in our communities that are still in possession of guns, where the law clearly says that they're not supposed to have firearms," Gascón said.
Fong said that according to state figures, there are nearly 24,000 people in the state who are prohibited from possessing firearms but continue to own them.
AB 1638 would require local agencies that serve jurisdictions where 10% or more of the population speaks a language other than English to have adequate staffing to provide information in that language during an emergency situation. Officials pointed to the Monterey Park mass shooting in January as one that affected a largely Chinese-speaking population.
"It has absolutely no use when we are communicating in languages that the majority of people in that community do not fully understand," Gascón said.
AB 733, meanwhile, would prevent state and local agencies from selling surplus firearms, ammunition and body armor.
"State and local government agencies should not be arms dealers," Fong said.