The White House on Monday vowed there would be a "Round Two" in President Barack Obama's struggle to pass new gun laws, after his initial attempt crashed to failure last week.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the failure of the Senate to endorse expanded background checks for gun owners, the final remaining piece of ambitious White House reform plans, was not the end.
"Ninety percent of the American people were in favor of one thing; a minority of United States senators derailed that," he said.
"I don't have a legislative strategy to lay out to you today but there will be a 'Round Two' and there will be a continued effort by this administration and, more importantly, by the American people," Carney said.
Carney complained that a small number of mostly Republican senators had blocked the background checks bill in the Senate despite the fact that it was favored by 90 percent of the American people.
"What the president made clear... is that this will happen. The time will come when we expand and improve our background-check system because it has to be done. It is common sense."
"As we have seen in our history, sometimes Congress takes a little bit of time to catch up to the American people. This is one of those times."
Republicans and a handful of Democrats from conservative states had argued that expanding background checks on individuals could infringe the right to bear arms and could criminalize transfers of firearms between family members.
Carney did not lay out a specific legislative timetable or program for new White House efforts to enact gun control.
The original call from Obama after the Newtown massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults last December was for a package that included an assault weapons ban and limits on the size of fast-firing ammunition clips.
But after a firm show of power by the National Rifle Association, the top gun lobby group, the fight for reform boiled down to an attempt to close loopholes designed to stop criminals and the mentally ill getting guns.
When that failed to get the 60-vote Senate supermajority required for passage, Obama lashed out angrily in a passionate speech in the White House Rose Garden, surrounded by parents of Newtown victims.
"All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington," Obama said on Wednesday.
Advocates of greater gun control, including former US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered brain injuries in a mass shooting in Arizona, have vowed to press on for change, and the issue could be at the center of the 2014 mid-term congressional elections.