Pressed on whether he believed everyone who failed a background check should be prosecuted, Graham acknowledged many would-be gun purchasers had likely made innocent mistakes.

“But in the case of–I can give you some examples, I should have brought them with me–that if you fail the background check you’re providing, you’ve got strawman purchases,” he said. “Here’s what I would suggest: Out of the 80,000, more than 44 probably did it illegally.”

President Obama made an impassioned plea for a vote on new gun controls toward the end of his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Victims of gun violence and their families filled the chamber, and members of Congress wore green ribbons as a tribute to the victims of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting.

“Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote,” Obama said, to some of the evening's loudest applause.

The president plans to push his gun measures — which include universal background checks on all firearm purchases, a renewed assault weapons ban, and limits on magazine size — during events Friday at the White House and in Chicago. In Washington, he we posthumously award the Presidential Citizens Medal to six educators who were killed during the Newtown shooting.