He vowed to keep trying, but the BBC's North America editor Jon Sopel said the president did not sound very confident.
Hours after the interview, a gunman opened fire at a cinema in the US state of Louisiana, killing two people and injuring several others before shooting himself.
President Obama said that America should be "ashamed" of the "off the charts" amount of gun violence in the country and chastised lawmakers who are not willing to take on the gun lobby
."My biggest frustration so far is that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps" to curb gun violence, Obama said during a question-and-answer Tuesday. All queries were submitted through the social network Tumblr.
Obama said the country needs to "do some soul searching" about a culture where mass shootings have become pervasive."We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens," Obama said. "And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this."
Figures show that more people in America are killed yearly by gun violence than by terrorism around the world.