Obama promises mayors unilateral action on guns

Stymied by Congress in his gun control efforts, President Obama told a group of big-city mayors Tuesday that he would take more executive actions to reduce gun violence.

The closed-door meeting at the White House included Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who discussed “strategies to reduce youth violence,” the White House said in a statement.

Mr. Obama “vowed to continue doing everything in his power to combat gun violence through executive action and to press Congress to pass common-sense reforms like expanding the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking,” the White House said in a statement.

The administration failed in an effort this spring to get the Senate to approve expanded background checks on gun purchases, a legislative response to the Sandy Hook school massacre last December in Connecticut.

Among those attending the session were Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, Calif.; Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Mo.; Mayor Molly Ward of Hampton, Va., and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

One local official notably not on the list was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the president’s former chief of staff, whose city has been especially plagued by gun violence involving youths.

The White House said Mr. Obama told the group that government isn’t the only answer to lowering gun violence.

“The president reiterated that government alone can never fill the void that causes a child to turn to violence, but that we all have a responsibility to do our part to create safe communities and save lives,” the White House said. “The president applauded the mayors for their local efforts to combat violence, solicited their input about proven methods, and pledged his Administration’s partnership.

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