President Barack Obama says he wants police from three communities that have experienced mass shootings and across the country to help convince Congress to pass gun legislation.

President Barack Obama (2R) meets with representatives from the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major Counties Sheriffs Association (Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Obama said no group is more important than law enforcement in the gun debate. He said he recognizes the issue "elicits a lot of passion all across the country" but that Congress will pay attention to police.

He urged Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, limit high capacity magazines and require universal background checks.

The president spoke as he met at the White House with the heads of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs Association, members of his Cabinet and chiefs that responded to the worst shootings of 2012 in Aurora, Colo., Oak Creek, Wis., and Newtown, Conn.

Newtown parents urge enforcement of gun laws

Some parents of the young victims of the Newtown elementary school shooting are calling for better enforcement of Connecticut's gun laws and questioning why civilians would need semiautomatic, military-style weapons.

Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was one of the 20 first-graders killed in the Dec. 14 massacre, told a legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws on Monday that he grew up with guns as a child and doesn't believe they should be banned. But he wants stricter regulations.

He questioned why anyone needs assault-style weapons and large capacity magazines, urging gun rights advocates in the packed room to put themselves in his position. A handful of people shouted back to him about their Second Amendment rights.

Heslin says there's no need for the weapons in homes or on the streets.