"We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens," Obama said during a Q&A with Tumblr founder David Karp. "And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this."
Obama was responding to a question from a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who had known one of the victims of last month's shooting. The session occurred just hours after a 14-year-old boy opened fire at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore., on Tuesday, killing a fellow student and injuring a teacher.
"This society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage," the president continued.
Obama said that while he's rarely surprised in Washington, he has been "stunned" by Congress' failure to enact gun-control reform.
"The fact that 20 6-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn't do anything about it was stunning to me," he said of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"A lot of people will say that this is a mental health problem, it's not a gun problem," he continued. "The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. Well, what's the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses and that's sort of par for the course. "
"The country has to do some soul searching," Obama said. "This is becoming the norm and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me. I am prepared to work with anybody, including responsible sportsmen and gun owners, to craft some solutions."
"But right now, it's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress and we should be ashamed of that."