US President Barack Obama (c), prior to meeting on gun violence with (l and r) Hennepin County Minnesota Sheriff Richard W. Stanek and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey Philadelphia Police Commissioner
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Law enforcement leaders who met with President Barack Obama are urging him to improve the mental health system and strengthen background checks, but did not unify on more controversial gun control measures.
Leaders of the Major County Sheriffs' Association said they told the president Monday to focus on the mental health system.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says there was broad agreement on the need to require stronger background checks for gun purchases. Ramsey is president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which backs an assault weapons ban.
The message reflects the political reality in Congress that the assault weapons ban Obama is pushing is likely to have a hard time winning broad support. But the president may have more hope for getting universal background checks.
Obama said if law enforcement officials can agree on the steps that need to be taken, "Congress is going to be paying attention to them."
Obama said no group is more important than law enforcement in the gun debate. He urged Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, limit high capacity magazines and require universal background checks.