Obama meets with police on gun campaign

2013-01-28 22:06
US President Barack Obama (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

US President Barack Obama (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

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Washington - US President Barack Obama on Monday surrounded himself with top police chiefs and sheriffs to crank up pressure on congress to back his drive for measures to cut down on gun violence.

"I'm looking forward to a robust conversation. I know it's not a shy group, mainly because they deal with a life and death situation every single day," Obama said at the meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

"No group is more important to listen to than our law enforcement communities. They are where the rubber hits the road."

Obama made measures to stem murderous firearms violence a centrepiece of his second term agenda, after America was traumatised by the massacre of 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut in December.

Monday's meeting included sheriffs and police chiefs from cities including Salt Lake City, Chicago and Aurora, Colorado, the site of a gun massacre at a movie theatre last year.

Also at the meeting was Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe.

Obama this month took 23 executive actions and challenged Congress to pass new laws, including renewing a ban on assault weapons, and closing loopholes that permit 40% of gun sales to take place without background checks.

Vice President Joe Biden, who drew up the administration's new gun control policy last week, was at Monday's meeting after last week taking the campaign into gun country in Virginia, to engage lawmakers and local leaders.

Virginia, adjacent to Washington, illustrates the heavy political winds Obama, Biden and top gun control advocates in Congress are facing.

The driving force in the gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, is headquartered in the state, and firearms can legally be carried openly.

Republicans, and some conservative Democrats, also find a hearing for the argument that Obama's plans are simply a veiled attempt to infringe on Americans' constitutionally enshrined right to bear arms.

Read more on:    nra  |  barack obama  |  joe biden  |  us  |  gun control
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