White House official: Obama will tackle 'very important issue' of gun control

A White House senior adviser said Tuesday night that President Obama is "going to address [gun control]."

In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, David Plouffe responded to criticism that the president did not mention gun control in his State of the Union address. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill and gun-control advocates have called for new legislation in the wake of the deadly shooting that killed six and injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) earlier this month.

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Plouffe said Obama's speech on Tuesday was focused on the economy. He added that the president has been clear on his views on gun control, citing Obama's position of reinstating the expired assault weapons ban.

"He's going to address this," Plouffe said. "It's a very important issue and I know there's going to be a lot of debate on the Hill."

It's not clear what legislation Obama will urge Congress to pass. Despite his support for reauthorizing the assault weapons ban, he has not made the issue a priority and has been lambasted by gun-control groups during the first two years of his presidency.

Williams said he was told by a senior administration official that Obama will take on gun control at a different venue and later date.