Gabrielle Giffords, husband Mark Kelly to attend State of the Union

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago, sits with her husband, Mark Kelly, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, prior to speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on what lawmakers should do to curb gun violence.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly, will attend President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday as guests of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., a Barber aide confirmed to CBS News.

Giffords, who was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, resigned from Congress following the shooting. Barber, her former district director, now holds the seat she once occupied.

The decision to invite Giffords and her husband will likely focus more attention on the president's recently unveiled proposals to reduce gun violence. Since the shooting that nearly claimed her life, Giffords has emerged as one of the most high-profile faces against gun violence in America.

At a congressional hearing in January, Giffords and Kelly testified on the need to adjust gun laws. "Violence is a big problem," Giffords declared during her testimony. "Too many children are dying - too many children."

"We must do something," she said. "It will be hard, but the time is now."

The president is expected to mention his proposals to strengthen gun laws during the speech, which is otherwise expected to focus on economic revitalization.

The proposals, which include a national background check requirement for gun purchases and a ban on military-style assault weapons, have drawn fire from congressional Republicans and interest groups like the National Rifle Association, which have accused the administration of attempting to undermine the Second Amendment.

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    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.