After 20 years of gun violence prevention work, a local activist finds hope in Biden’s actions

There was a time when Loren Lieb wasn’t all too familiar with gun laws, how they can vary state-by-state or how they could lead to a country where civilian gun ownership outnumbers the people.

But that was before Aug. 10, 1999, when a white supremacist opened fire on the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, where her 8-year-old and 6-year-old sons were attending a summer day camp. That was before her 6-year-old was injured by the rampage, becoming a victim of gun violence.

In the aftermath, as her family recovered — both from physical injuries and those unseen — from the shooting, Lieb became one of the founding members of the Brady United Against Gun Violence San Fernando Valley chapter. The group, according to its social media pages, “works to promote public awareness and common-sense solutions to gun-related violence.”

And on Tuesday, March 14, Lieb donned a purple Brady shirt and black blazer and joined hundreds of other people in a crowded Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley gymnasium to hear President Joe Biden tout his executive action to “accelerate and intensify this work to save lives more quickly” through gun violence prevention.

“All of the things that he (Biden) is planning on addressing today is a step in the right direction, things we’ve all been fighting for a long time,” Lieb said ahead of the speech. “These actions only make us safer.”

“The solution, the real preventative solution, is to keep the wrong people from getting a gun in the first place,” Lieb, a mom-turned-activist, said. “We’re not trying to take away everybody’s guns; we’re not trying to ban guns. We just want everybody who has a gun to be responsible.”

Biden unveiled his latest executive action Tuesday just blocks away from where a gunman killed 11 people at a Monterey Park dance studio in January. The executive order calls on the attorney general to ensure gun sellers are conducting background checks as required under law and clarify who can be “engaged in the business of doing firearms.”

These efforts will ensure fewer guns will be obtained by felons or domestic abusers, senior administration officials said ahead of Biden’s visit to Los Angeles County.

For Lieb, Tuesday was an overdue light at the end of the tunnel: “I’ve been involved with gun violence prevention for 20-plus years now. It’s been a long slog, and I’m looking forward to hearing some good news today from the president.”

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