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Will Sikh temple shooting spark US conversation on gun control?

The Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting elicited renewed calls for gun control, but surveys show it's not a pressing issue for the US public. Obama and his spokesman talked only of combatting violence.

By / August 6, 2012

A woman sits with a candle during a vigil for the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting, in Milwaukee, Sunday, Aug 5.

Jeffrey Phelps/AP

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Sunday’s tragic shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin has raised anew, at home and abroad, the issue of Americans’ ready access to firearms.

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In the United States, gun control advocates redoubled their rhetoric on Monday. The killings in suburban Milwaukee, coming so soon after the July 20th mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, show yet again why the nation needs a new political conversation about gun restrictions, they said.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted that “the people who want to run this country need to tell us their plan to end gun violence,” for instance. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a statement asserting that there have now been 61 mass shootings since the attack in Tucson, Ariz., last year in which then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded and six others killed.

“The American people from across the political spectrum are calling for solutions. We know that we are better than this. It is time for our elected officials and presidential candidates to show us that they know it too,” read the statement.

Meanwhile, in the Kashmir region of India, an area with a large Sikh population, protesters blocked a national highway while carrying banners calling for stricter US gun control laws, according to wire service accounts. Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, asked about the gun culture of the US, said that while he did not mean to interfere in another nation’s domestic affairs, Americans “will have to certainly take a comprehensive look at this kind of [gun culture] tendency, which certainly is not going to bring credit to the United States.”

Will such calls result in a new move to pass gun control legislation in America? It is possible, but given the current political climate, it is also unlikely.

President Obama signaled as much on Monday during a brief exchange with reporters in the Oval Office. Asked if he would now pursue new gun measures, Obama basically deflected the question.

“We’re still awaiting the outcome of a full investigation,” said Obama , adding that “all of us are heartbroken by what happened”, according to the pool report.

The president said such events happen with “too much regularity,” and that he would “examine additional ways to reduce violence,” but stopped short of calling for new gun-control laws, according to pool reporters.

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