Regrouping with the nation's leading law enforcement representatives three weeks after bipartisan gun-control legislation suffered a surprising defeat in the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden indicated he will begin a new push to rally the American public around the issue, according to attendees of the meeting.
"He said he is committed to seeing this through. He wants to hit the road and interact with stakeholders and the public in general and continue to educate them on what the purpose of this legislation is," said Jon Adler, President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and one of the participants in the meeting.
The previously announced White House meeting on Thursday -- with about 16 representatives from various law enforcement groups -- lasted about 90 minutes. According to another participant, Biden's purpose was to get a sense of what gun control proposals enjoy the most support among the law enforcement organizations' memberships.
"It was very clear to everyone that he supported a second round of discussions about what legislation was appropriate and possible," said Jim Bueermann, the president of the Police Foundation.
Specifically, Biden said he would focus on rejiggering two major proposals that were defeated last month but enjoy a majority of support among the American public: expanded background checks and closing loopholes on gun-trafficking.
Biden did not hint at how confident he was that legislation of some kind would eventually get passed but said that he felt "morally obligated" to keep pushing in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.
"I felt he was very solemn, sincere, and soft-spoken," Adler said. "This was not a thumping of the chest at all."
Still, the Vice President expressed that he sees "the glass as generally half full."
"All of us in the room have optimism of about the passage of reasoned gun legislation," Bueermann added. "This was a bit of a reality check for all of us. We re-affirmed to each other that this still makes sense."
In a sign that the White House has yet to fully formulate its next steps on the issue, Biden told the group that this was a preliminary meeting to get their input and that he had not yet spoken with President Obama on what his efforts would be going forward.
"He made clear that he wanted to get our input up front," said Adler.
Biden's office would not comment on the meeting. A White House official said the vice president would continue to meet with groups who are active in the gun debate.
Meanwhile, in a speech to Mexican University students Friday, President Obama said he too remains committed to the issue.
"I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people, that can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It's the right thing to do," the president said earlier Friday.