Obama turns to police officers in gun control fight

WASHINGTON Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:43pm EST

1 of 2. U.S. President Barack Obama meets with police chiefs from three U.S. communities scarred by mass shootings last year to talk about the administration's push to reduce gun violence, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, January 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama turned to law enforcement on Monday for support in his push to tighten gun laws, meeting at the White House with police chiefs from cities scarred by mass shootings and calling for more officers nationwide.

Obama, who has made stricter gun control measures a top policy goal for this year, reiterated his desire that lawmakers pass measures he recently unveiled to curb gun violence, including an assault weapons ban and universal background checks for gun purchases.

The meeting was the latest in a series of discussions that Obama is using to try to build political support for tighter gun control after 20 young children and six adults were killed in December by a gunman at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Newtown's police chief, Michael Kehoe, attended the meeting along with his counterparts from Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed and 58 wounded in a mass shooting at a movie theater last July, and from Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where six people were killed and four wounded at a Sikh temple in August.

In remarks to reporters at the start of the meeting, Obama noted that the police chiefs realized the problem of gun violence extends beyond high-profile mass shootings.

"That's why part of the conversation that we're going to be having today relates not only to the issue of new laws or better enforcement of our gun laws, it also means what are we doing to make sure that we've got the strongest possible law enforcement teams on the ground?" Obama said.

"What are we doing to hire more cops? What are we doing to make sure that they're getting the training that they need?" he said.

Obama wants to ban military-style assault weapons and ensure that all gun buyers are subjected to background checks. But he needs Congress to pass legislation on the politically tricky issues.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on Wednesday on the measures.

"The only way that we're going to be able to do everything that needs to be done is with the cooperation of Congress," Obama said.

"That means passing serious laws that restrict the access and availability of assault weapons and magazine clips that aren't necessary for hunters and sportsmen and those responsible gun owners who are out there. It means that we are serious about universal background checks," he said.

The National Rifle Association, the country's most powerful pro-gun lobby group, has vowed to defeat the plan, which it says would infringe on gun ownership rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Monday's meeting included Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Obama and Biden have said their plan would not affect the rights of responsible gun owners. Biden traveled to Richmond, Virginia last week with that message.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)

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Comments (28)
idonthinkso wrote:
Did they meet any police chiefs where crimes have been stopped by citizens owning guns?

This is just another play by the President to get an emotional response. He can’t use reason or the constitution so he has to manipulate the emotions.

Jan 28, 2013 7:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
americanguy wrote:
“Obama, Biden to meet police chiefs from towns scarred by shootings”
What is that, three communities out of 200,000+? That would explain why it would not be fesable to meet with communities who have NOT been scarred by shootings.
But then again no need to meet with most communities that have seen violent crime drop to record low levels, as gun sales increased over the past 5 years.
“Violent crime rates in the U.S. are reaching historic lows, according to new FBI data released Monday. Instances of murder declined overall by 1.9 percent from 2010″

Jan 28, 2013 7:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
Dragos111 wrote:
Still trying to take advantage of the Sandy Hook killings. These guys are so transparent. Nothing will be accomplished here except for photo ops and sensationalist promotion of their plans to strip Americans of their right to protect themselves.

Jan 28, 2013 7:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
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