The president cited measures such as implementing stronger background checks, a ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines. But he said resistance from the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) gun lobby could make action difficult in Congress.
Vice President Joe Biden has been meeting with members of Congress, Cabinet members and advocacy groups on both sides of the issue over the last month. Biden has been leading a task force on ways to reduce violence in the wake of a mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December that killed 20 school children and seven adults.
The NRA, one of the groups Biden met with, has made it clear it will strenuously oppose an assault-weapons ban and other measures that would restrict access to guns.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said Friday that while he thought an assault weapons ban may be able to pass the Democratic-led Senate, he doubted that it could garner the necessary support among the Republican majority in the House.
Obama can use his executive powers to act alone on some gun measures, but his options on the proposals opposed by the NRA are limited without Congress' cooperation.
"Part of the challenge we confront is that even the slightest hint of some sensible responsible legislation in this area fans this notion that somehow here it comes, and everybody's guns are going to be taken away," Obama said. The president added that while he tightened enforcement of existing gun laws during his first term, it's difficult for opponents to argue he has infringed on their right to own guns.
Biden also met last week with representatives of the video game and film industries to discuss cultural factors that may lead to violent behavior, although it's unclear what, if anything, the administration is prepared to do about depictions of violence in the media.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.