The plan he and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled includes a package of proposals to reduce gun violence.
It's the most ambitious gun control program in decades and comes in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary school killings in Newtown, Connecticut last month.
"Protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one," Mr. Obama said when announcing the initiative.
The president was joined by families of the 26 victims from the December tragedy.
Also in the crowd were children from across the country who wrote the president.
The president's plan includes universal background checks for guns, cracking down on gun trafficking, a high capacity magazine ban and an assault weapons ban.
Across the country gun enthusiasts are responding by buying weapons they fear will be banned.
The National Rifle Association is also out with a new ad-calling the president an "elitist hypocrite", noting that Mr. Obama and his family are protected by armed guards.
The White House calls the ad "repugnant," arguing that most Americans are on the president's side.
"The only way to change is if American people demand it," President Obama said.
A recent Washington Post/ABC poll found 58-percent of people support an assault weapons ban, and even more 65-percent support a ban on high capacity magazines.
Many of the actions the president plans to take include executive actions.
He'll address mental health, education, and gun tracking, which don't require the support of Congress.