Rep. Chu calls for tighter gun laws after Calif. shooting: "Protect America"

Rep. Judy Chu, who represents Monterey Park, California, said she couldn't believe the extent of the violence when she heard of Saturday's massacre at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio — "one of the worst mass shootings in L.A. County."

Chu, who is a former mayor of the California city and as a longtime resident, also said she was outraged "because there are far too many of these mass shootings going on."

"We have to take actions to make sure that people are safe in America," she said.

Chu, who represents California's 28th congressional district, is part of the gun safety caucus in Congress. She said the group has worked on gun control legislation including on universal background checks that would "take guns out of dangerous people's hands." She said it should have passed "a long time ago."

"I want to say to those who are resistant to these gun safety laws: Protect America. Protect your fellow neighbors. You don't know if the next person could be your loved one," she said. 

The massacre, which left 10 people dead, was the fifth mass killing in the United States this month. It occurred during a Lunar New Year celebration.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said five men and five women were killed at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio. After the shooting, the suspect, identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in nearby Alhambra, but some individuals wrestled the firearm away from him and he took off.

After an hours-long manhunt, the suspect was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators said.

Police found a magazine-fed semi-automatic assault pistol with an extended large-capacity magazine while searching the Lai Lai Ballroom. Luna said he believes that type of weapon might not be legal in California, which has some of the country's strictest gun laws.

Chu said more action and policy changes are needed to help prevent such tragedies from happening again.

"We know there are concrete, common sense steps that we can take to stop all this terrible and senseless violence," she said.

"Why do we have so many guns in this country and even more on the horizon? It's not right," she said. "Other countries don't operate this way, and we should not either."

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