During one session with a dozen religious leaders on Wednesday, Biden made a specific request to those gathered to preach to their congregations about the importance of enacting stronger gun control laws, said the Rev. Michael McBride, a participant in the meeting and a community organizer for the PICO Network, an alliance of faith-based organizations.

“The vice president shared how he felt this was one of the most important meetings of all the meetings, that the faith leaders, the faith community has a very unique role in engaging in the moral persuasion necessary to address the gun challenges in our country,” McBride said. “He called upon us to take that seriously and that the administration and everyone involved is going to be looking to us to help to make that argument across the different faith traditions.”…

The message echoed one delivered by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a Tuesday conference call with major philanthropic groups, including the Open Society Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment…

“This kind of statement just widens the divide between NRA members, who are quite reasonable people, and the NRA’s lobbyists, who are solely in the business of creating conflict to raise money,” said Mark Glaze, the director of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group. “It galvanizes not just Democrats, but people in the middle — which includes a lot of NRA members.”