And despite the recent groundswell in support for action, gun control legislation could be notoriously difficult to pass. Previous mass shootings have yielded little action on gun laws and the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has successfully prevented serious efforts to further restrict access to guns. Republicans in Congress whose support would necessary to pass any legislation have largely been reluctant to get behind gun control.
In a statement Tuesday, the NRA said it was ready "to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again" while announcing plans for a news conference on Friday.
Obama acknowledged that gun control is a "complex issue" that stirs deep emotions and political divides and that no one law could prevent future massacres, but said that should not stand in the way of his efforts.
"It won't be easy, but that can't be an excuse not to try," he said.