President Obama treaded lightly on the issue of gun control during his final State of the Union address, just one week after his teary-eyed announcement that he would circumvent Congress with a series of controversial executive orders.
The president raised the issue of gun violence only once during his hour-long speech, among a list of other policy goals.
“Tonight I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead,” Obama told lawmakers. "Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty, from helping students learn to write computer code to personalizing medical treatments for patients. And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families, they are still the right thing to do and I will not let up until they get done."
"But for my final address to this chamber, I don’t want to talk just about the next year,” he continued. "I want to focus on the next five years, 10 years and beyond.”
Obama also made an unspoken gesture, leaving a seat empty for the victims of gun violence in the first lady’s box.
In addition, Connecticut Gov Dan Malloy (D), who has become a leading gun control voice since the Newtown shooting in his state, sat in between first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama says change may be coming 'too rapidly' for many YouTube confirms it picked kids featured in Harris video Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse MORE and the empty seat for gun victims.
Malloy has made multiple trips to the White House and Congress lobbying for stricter gun restrictions after enacting one of the toughest state laws in the country in 2013.
— This story was updated at 10:04 p.m.