Biden to Visit California and Call for Tougher Gun Control Measures

Gun Rights

Facing a spate of mass shootings, the president will visit the city where a gunman killed 11 people in January. He will also meet with the British prime minister while in California.

WASHINGTON — President Biden plans to travel next week to Monterey Park, Calif., where a gunman killed 11 people at a dance studio in January, to call for tougher gun control measures amid a spate of mass shootings throughout the United States.

Mr. Biden will visit the Southern California city on Tuesday, according to a White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly about his plans. The trip is part of a West Coast swing that will begin on Monday in San Diego, where he will meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, and end in Nevada.

This week, the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group, said the United States had surpassed 100 mass shootings, defined as one in which at least four people were killed or injured, since the beginning of the year.

The official did not say if Mr. Biden planned to visit the site of the shooting or meet with Brandon Tsay, the young man who stopped Huu Can Tran, 72, from entering his family’s dance studio about 20 minutes after Mr. Tran killed 11 people at a nearby ballroom in January. Mr. Tsay was a guest at Mr. Biden’s State of the Union address last month, in which the president called for a ban on assault weapons.

Mr. Biden has repeatedly called for such a ban in recent public speeches, highlighting not only the issue but also the limits of his power to do anything about it. Even with majorities in both houses of Congress during Mr. Biden’s first two years in office, Democrats were unable to pass a ban, and any effort now would be all but certain to die in the Republican-controlled House.

That has left Mr. Biden with few options but the bully pulpit. “We’re going to ban assault weapons again come hell or high water,” Mr. Biden told Democrats last week in Baltimore.

As a senator, Mr. Biden negotiated a 10-year assault weapons ban as part of a broader crime bill in 1994, which led to a temporary drop in gun crime and shootings of police officers, according to a study by the Justice Department. The ban blocked the sale of 19 weapons that had features used by the United States military, including semiautomatic rifles and certain types of shotguns and handguns, and it was opposed by Republicans and the National Rifle Association.

Last summer, Congress passed a bipartisan bill that bolstered background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21 and pumped federal money into states to implement so-called red flag laws that allow officials to temporarily confiscate guns from people found in court to be too dangerous to own them. Last month, the Justice Department announced a $200 million program to fund state crisis intervention programs in an effort to reduce gun violence.

The bill was considered a compromise, and Democrats said it fell far short of the sort of assault weapons ban Mr. Biden has proposed.

Stephanie Lai contributed reporting.

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