Obama seeks backing on gun control from law enforcement officials

Posted Monday, Jan. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama met Monday with law enforcement leaders, including officials from four communities where mass shootings took place recently, and urged them to help him build support in Congress to pass his proposals to toughen gun laws.

Obama asserted that law enforcement leaders are the most important group in the fraught and emotional gun debate -- "They are where the rubber hits the road," he said -- and that a consensus among police chiefs and sheriffs could influence wavering lawmakers.

"Hopefully, if law enforcement officials who are dealing with this stuff every single day can come to some consensus in terms of steps that we need to take, Congress is going to be paying attention to them, and we'll be able to make progress," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined Obama and 13 police chiefs and sheriffs at the White House meeting.

Obama urged passage of universal background checks for all gun buyers, which administration officials have said is his top priority and is considered the most likely of his legislative proposals to win bipartisan support.

The president also called Monday on Congress to pass bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazine clips, making clear that those measures remain a priority after Biden did not highlight them Friday in his public remarks during a gun violence round-table session in Richmond.

Later, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama and Biden would continue meeting with different interest groups as they "press for progress."

"This reflects the president's commitment to engage with all stakeholders on this important issue," Carney said.

In the law enforcement meeting, Obama noted that his proposals to curb gun violence, which also included 23 executive actions announced this month, are designed to prevent not only mass shootings but also everyday violence.

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