Politics

Obama Could Find Common Ground With Law Enforcement Leaders Over Gun Control And Justice Reform

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Obama talking on the phoneObama talking on the phone

President Barack Obama is due to meet with the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago on Oct. 27, where he will reportedly push for justice system reform and “common sense” gun control.

Obama isn’t alone in promoting the agenda. He’s found an ally in Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy, who is a member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, which believes the level of incarceration in the U.S. has “recached a crisis point,” The Huffington Post reported.

“We’re looking at now not leniency, but better handling of people,” Ed Meese, who served as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, told The Huffington Post earlier this month. “They’re not being soft on crime because nobody is getting away with crime, and the whole purpose is to be more effective in our treatment of crime. Certainly that’s not being soft on crime.”

Gun control will also likely be a unifying topic given the fact that the event is being held in Chicago, where firearm violence has levied a heavy human toll in recent months, CNN reported. "The city of Chicago is actually (a) good illustration for why allowing local jurisdictions to put in place these gun safety laws doesn't work," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. "Because it's too easy for those with bad intentions to just cross the city line, or cross the county line to go and make a handgun purchase that they're prevented from making in some other jurisdictions.”

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Despite the potential for agreement, the meeting comes after a display of tension over policing within the Obama administration. Relations between police and the communities they’re supposed to serve, especially communities of color, have been tenuous at best since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. 

FBI Director James Comey suggested that week that that police officers have felt restricted as a result of the so-called “Ferguson effect,” where people feel more compelled to commit crime due to the pushback against law enforcement and police fear being targeted.

However, the White House refuted this claim. Earnest said there's no evidence that "law enforcement officers around the country are shying away from fulfilling their responsibilities,” The Huffington Post reported.

Sources: The Huffington Post (2), CNN Image via Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons