By Tommy Andres, CNN
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(CNN) – President Obama's State of the Union address is expected to focus on the economy, but guns will also be a focal point even if the issue isn't addressed in words.
Around 20 House democrats have announced they will bring people affected by gun violence to the speech, and Republican Sen. John McCain has invited Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly to be his guests.
The speech comes just a week after the second wave of state legislative sessions kicked off, and a slew of gun related bills have hit statehouses across the country. In the Northeast, many states are pushing for stricter gun control, but in many states, mostly in the South, lawmakers are pushing legislation to block any federal gun control measures that may be passed in Washington.
Constitutional Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt from the University of Pennsylvania says the bills may be trying to send a message, but they won't do much else.
[2:25] "A state legislature could enact a resolution saying we don't like this federal law. We wish it didn't exist. We wish we didn't have to follow it. But all the same they do have to follow it. This is probably more political grandstanding than complete ignorance about the relations between states and the federal government."
While those bills may be symbolic, plenty of other bills loosening restrictions on guns in schools, churches and cars are also up for votes, and a broad national picture is forming. The political conversation is turning into a standoff between states and and federal government over what the right to bear arms really means.