Michelle Obama is speaking out about the toll that gun violence is taking on young people, in a shift that shows the first lady’s willingness to tackle new and polarizing issues as she shapes her second term.

A meeting with high school students from a poor, gang-infested neighborhood in Chicago, her hometown, led Mrs. Obama to put a new spin on the stalled legislative debate over whether to ban firearms or impose new background checks on people who want to buy guns.

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