Politicians in the US Senate have failed to back a bipartisan plan which would mean that individuals who wanted to buy firearms would have to go through extensive background checks.
The Senate voted 54-46 in favour of the plan, but failed to achieve the 60-vote threshold necessary to make it law.
Several Democrats from rural, pro-gun states joined with most Republicans to vote against the legislation.
Analysts say this is a major blow to President Barack Obama's plans to introduce stricter gun controls following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
More top news
Chart-topping soul singer Sam Smith dedicated his triumph to his parents after celebrating being the big winner at the Mobo Awards.
After yesterday's shooting at Parliament in Ottowa there is a sense that Canada's innocence has been stolen.
Figures released by Network Rail and the Samaritans show there have been 33 more deaths on the tracks in the last year.