As President Barack Obama ramps up his push to enact tougher gun laws, his Attorney General was in New York to talk up the effort to district attorneys from around the state. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Attorney General Eric Holder is enlisting the support of New York State's district attorneys in the Obama administration's recent push to crack down on gun violence.
"Today, more than ever, we must summon the courage to confront even the most intractable public safety challenges, and we must reject the notion that partisan gridlock and political convenience are acceptable reasons for inaction," Holder said.
Holder was speaking to district attorneys from across New York State. They were assembled for their association's annual conference.
Holder outlined steps the president wants Congress to take, such as requiring universal background checks for gun purchases. He defended the president's decision to take steps on his own, such as his directive last week that ends a freeze on gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control.
"Contrary to what a few have said, all of the president's actions have been consistent with the historical use of executive power," Holder said.
Meanwhile, the city's most high-profile gun control advocate, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was scheduled to dine with Vice President Joe Biden on Friday. The mayor wants to know where things stand with the White House campaign for more gun control.
Changes are also happening at the local level. New York was the first state to pass tougher gun laws in the wake of the Newtown shooting, but for some, the legislation did not go far enough. Microstamping, for instance, which is a tool that allows law enforcement officials to connect shell casings at a crime scene with the gun used to fire them, was not included in Governor Andrew Cuomo's deal.
"We are talking about solving cases involving shootings and homicides," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. "This is really important, emotional stuff for victims and their families, and I think Republicans and Democrats should get behind this. Understand it is about keeping us safer.
When it comes to guns, though, not everyone sees eye to eye.