In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday morning, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel defended President Obama's record on gun control. 

On Monday the president began the first serious push of his administration to attempt to reduce gun violence, directing Cabinet members to formulate a set of proposals that could include reinstating a ban on assault rifles.

"President Obama always stood for getting something done," Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, said. "President Obama always stood for the assault weapons ban."

The president supports the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, but he has not pushed for its reinstatement. 

Obama "was dealing, as you well know, with a myriad of issues," Emanuel said, "and he was pushing very hard and making sure also that we had the funding to do everything we needed to do in the Justice Department.”

Emanuel did not deny that he was furious with Attorney General Eric Holder for saying that the administration wanted to reinstate the assault weapons ban, as reported in Daniel Klaidman’s book “Kill or Capture.”

"It is very hard" to pass new gun restrictions, he acknowledged. "That's why what you have to focus on is criminal access and the type of guns and make it a law enforcement issue."