President Obama is enlisting the help of police chiefs from communities devastated by mass shootings as he continues a public push for Congress to act on his proposals to curb gun violence.
"No group is more important for us to listen to than our law enforcement officials," the president told reporters before a White House meeting today with sheriffs and police chiefs from across the country. "They are where the rubber hits the road."
The president and members of his cabinet met with the police chiefs who responded to the deadly shootings in Aurora, Colo., Oak Creek, Wis., and Newtown, Conn, along with representatives from the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association and the Major County Sheriffs' Association.
"I welcome this opportunity to work with them; to hear their views in terms of what will make the biggest difference to prevent something like Newtown or Oak Creek from happening again," Obama said.
The president reiterated his call for Congress to reinstate the 1994 assault weapons ban and pass legislation to limit high-capacity magazines and require universal background checks.
The president said the issue goes beyond preventing high-profile mass shootings to halting the "day-in-day-out" gun violence in cities across the country.
"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?" he said.
"Hopefully, if law enforcement officials who are dealing with this stuff every single day can come to some basic consensus in terms of steps that we need to take," he added, "Congress is going to be paying attention to them and we'll be able to make progress."