Speaking to CBS News on Wednesday as the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. unfolded, President Obama said U.S. politicians "should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal."

In an interview with CBS News co-host Norah O’Donnell at the White House, Obama emphasized that while it is too early to determine a motive behind the shooting, it provides further evidence for why background checks on gun buyers need to be expanded.

He noted that "for those who are concerned about terrorism of, you know, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can't get on planes, but those same people who we don't allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm, and there's nothing that we can do to stop them."

"That's a law that needs to be changed, and so, you know, my hope is that we're able to contain this particular shooting and ... we don't yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is, is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal," the president continued. "We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events, because it doesn't happen with the same frequency in other countries."

White House officials are weighing whether the president should issue an executive order requiring background checks on sales by high-volume, private gun dealers, but the proposal is undergoing a legal review.

Obama said the FBI "is on the ground offering assistance to local officials as they need it," and he offered his condolences for the families affected by the shooting.

"And you know, obviously, our hearts go out to the victims and the families," he said.