But Mark Tushnet, a Harvard Law School professor who has written a book about the gun debate, said new firearms regulations will be a low priority for an Obama administration and Democratic Congress facing a global economic crisis and two wars.
"Maybe the gun-show loophole will be closed, but not much else," he said in an e-mail. "I'd be surprised, for example, if Congress enacted a new assault gun ban."
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said his organization will continue to press for what he calls "sensible" restrictions - background checks at gun shows, a ban on military-style assault weapons and cracking down on illegal gun trade. He believes he has the backing of the new administration on those issues, but any fears of a broader crackdown are unfounded.
"The one thing that they agree strongly with us on is that it's too easy for dangerous people to get guns in this country," Helmke said. "I guess if you're a dangerous person you might want to run out there and buy some more, but otherwise you should be OK."
Associated Press writers Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington, Angela K. Brown in Fort Worth, Texas, Kate Brumback in Marietta, Ga., Joe Edwards in Nashville, Tenn., Don Mitchell in Denver, Matt Joyce in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Paul Foy in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.