US needs soul searching on gun violence: Obama

US needs soul searching on gun violence: Obama

There is room for consensus on gun control, says US president

US President Barack Obama said on Monday that mass killings like the shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin were occurring with “too much regularity” and should prompt soul searching by all Americans, but he stopped short of calling for new gun-control laws.

“All of us are heart-broken by what happened,” Obama told reporters at the White House a day after a gunman opened fire on Sikh worshippers preparing for religious services, killing six before he was shot dead by a police officer.

But when asked whether he would push for further gun-control measures in the wake of the shootings, Obama said only that he wanted to bring together leaders at all levels of American society to examine ways to curb gun violence.

That echoed his pledge last month in a speech in New Orleans to work broadly to “arrive at a consensus” on the contentious issue after a deadly Colorado shooting spree highlighted the problem in an election year.

But like his earlier comments, Obama offered no timetable or specifics for such discussions and did not call outright for tighter gun control laws. Talk of reining in America’s gun culture is considered politically risky for Obama, who is locked in a tight race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney for November election.

“All of us recognise that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul searching to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence,” Obama said at an Oval Office ceremony to sign an unrelated bill.

The Democratic president has made a point of emphasising his support for the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, which covers the right to bear arms.

White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated, however, that Obama remained in favour of renewing an assault weapons ban but pointed out “there has been reluctance by Congress” to pass it.

FBI rules out second man

Meanwhile, hours after releasing the photo of “a person of interest” in the Wisconsin Gurudwara shooting incident, the FBI has ruled out involvement of a second suspect saying the attack was carried out by the lone gunman Wade Michael Page. The second person was interviewed by the FBI before being cleared by it.

“The unidentified subject has been located, interviewed and does not appear to be connected with the yesterday’s shooting incident at Oak Creek,” a FBI spokesman said.
Even as the investigation is ongoing, the FBI said the shooting was carried out by the lone gunman identified as Wade Michael Page, who was later shot dead by an Oak Creek police officer.

Earlier on Monday at a news conference, the FBI said they were trying to identify a suspicious man who arrived at the scene after the shooting and released a photograph of him, asking for the public's help.

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