Report: Obama, Biden to meet police chiefs from Aurora, Newtown

President Obama and Vice President Biden on Monday will meet with police chiefs and sheriffs from towns affected by mass shootings to discuss the administration’s proposals to stem gun violence, according to reports.

The meeting is the latest in a series of discussions between the White House and stakeholders as the administration looks to build support for its ambitious package of gun reforms.

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Obama and Biden are scheduled to hold the private talks in the Roosevelt Room with representatives from the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association and Major County Sheriffs Association, according to CNN, which first reported the meeting. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will join the president.

In attendance will be the police chiefs of Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wis.; and Newtown, Conn., all towns that have experienced mass shootings in the past year.

The shooting at an elementary school in Newtown last month, which claimed 27 lives, has sparked renewed debate on the nation’s gun laws. Earlier this month, Obama acted on the recommendations of a White House task force on gun violence led by Vice President Biden, unveiling a sweeping set of gun-reform proposals.

Obama signed numerous executive actions to tighten existing laws and is pressing lawmakers to pass bans on the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and to institute universal background checks on all firearm purchasers.

The White House is also seeking to mobilize supporters to pressure lawmakers, and press secretary Jay Carney has said the president will hold campaign-style events to promote their reforms. 

Last week, Biden held a meeting with officials in Richmond, Va., who responded to the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting and also participated in an online discussion, answering questions about the administration’s efforts to stem gun violence.

Lawmakers are also moving on the issue, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last week unveiling a bill banning more than 150 types of semi-automatic weapons and barring the sale of high-capacity clips. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also slated later this week to begin a number of hearings on gun violence.

But the moves to tighten gun laws are facing strong opposition from the nation’s gun lobby and GOP lawmakers. Feinstein on Sunday acknowledged that passing gun legislation would be an “uphill” fight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has pledged to allow a floor vote on any measures that move through the Judiciary panel, but has expressed doubts about an assault-weapons ban, which is also unlikely to pass in the GOP House.

Obama has also sought to reach out to gun owners. In an interview with The New Republic published Sunday, Obama said he frequently participates in skeet shooting at Camp David and has respect for the nation’s hunters and sportsmen. The president said he was confident his reforms could garner public support and said he hoped to bridge the divide between gun owners and proponents of gun control.