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 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," Obama said at the White House.
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.
He also called on Congress to pass bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazine clips.
Attendees included law enforcement leaders from Newtown, Conn., where 20 small children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14; Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and dozens injured at a movie theater in July; Oak Creek, Wis., where six were killed at a Sikh temple in August; and Tucson, where in 2011 six died and 13 were injured, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.