Boehner: 'Congress does have a responsibility' to reduce gun violence

"I think the committees in Congress are beginning to look at, how do we address the violence in our society, how do we take meaningful steps to reduce that violence. And as I made clear for weeks, when the Senate, if the Senate acts we will be happy to take a look at what they do," Boehner said at a press conference Wednesday.

When pressed on whether he wanted to be "out front on the issue," Boehner said, "we all feel for the victims of these mass shootings."

"They're horrible images and I was glad that those people were there last night and Congress does have a responsibility to look at violence in our society and make responsible decisions on how we can reduce that violence," he added.

Dozens of victims of gun violence attended Tuesday night's State of the Union, including the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old Chicago girl who performed during Obama's inaugural festivities last month and was killed days later in a shooting in Chicago.

During his address, Obama urged Congress to pass new legislation to curb gun violence, arguing that the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. had changed the debate.

"It has been two months since Newtown. 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 fifth State of the Union speech.

He went on to give an impassioned plea for those affected by gun tragedies.

"Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote," he added. "Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote."

Read more on Obama's push to reduce gun violence.