President Obama heads to his hometown Chicago on Friday to press Congress to act on his proposals to reduce gun violence.
Obama also urged Congress to hold a vote on a federal assault weapons ban and impose a limit the size of ammunition magazines.
The president has made gun control a central focus of his second-term agenda in response to the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December, which left 20 school children dead. A number of lawmakers, including a few with "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association (NRA), have called on federal action to prevent future shooting massacres.
But there remains significant disagreement about the extent of the measures, with strong opposition among Republicans and some Democrats to an assault weapons ban.
Obama's decision to speak on gun violence in his hometown draws focus to the crisis of gun violence in the city, which recorded 500 murders in 2012.
At the State of the Union on Tuesday first lady Michelle Obama hosted the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago teenager who was shot last month near the Obama's Chicago home. Pendleton had performed with her school band in the presidential inauguration in January.
"I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different," Obama said in his State of the Union speech.
"In the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun — more than a thousand."
Victims of gun violence in America "deserve a simple vote," Obama said.
On Thursday, Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, panned Obama's gun push as a "charade."
“It was only a few weeks ago when they were marking their anti-gun agenda as a way of protecting school children from harm," LaPierre said in a speech Thursday evening.
"That charade ended at the State of the Union, when the president exposed their fraudulent intentions. It's not about keeping kids safe at school. That wasn't even mentioned in the president's speech."