Washington: Yet another shooting in the United States less than four weeks after a gunman killed six worshippers in a Sikh Gurdwara in Wisconsin has rekindled a potentially contentious issue ahead of the November presidential election.
In the latest shooting, an ex-Marine shot and killed two of his co-workers in a New Jersey supermarket before taking his own life early Friday morning, according to local media reports.
The apparently disgruntled worker entered the Pathmark store in Old Bridge, a suburb about 25 miles from New York, around 4 am and shot two people and then himself, New Jersey Star-Ledger reported citing Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry.
The gunman, an ex-Marine, had been working at the store for about two weeks, Henry was quoted as saying.
The man, whom he did not identify, had been working at the store on Thursday night but left and came back a short time later. He was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and an automatic pistol.
The New Jersey incident coming as it did after a string of shootings, including one near the Empire State building last Friday, the August 05 shooting at a Wisconsin Gurdwara and at a Colorado movie theatre last month, brought the contentious issue of gun control to the fore.
"Wondering if (New Jersey`s Republican Governor) Chris Christie still thinks it`s not the right time to talk about this issue. nyc and now here, enough!" wrote a reader on the NJ.com Facebook page.
"Guns don`t kill people, people do. Just like a fork doesn`t make you fat. Many are killed in car accidents. Should we ban cars?" countered another reader.
While Democrats generally favour gun control laws, Republicans swear by the second amendment which gives citizens the right to bear arms. But come election season, both parties have generally shied away from a debate on the issue thanks to the powerful gun lobby.
However, Obama, who condemned the "senseless attack" on the Wisconsin Gurdwara called for a "common sense" approach to assault rifle sales after the Colorado shooting saying "a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals”.
Fearing that Obama will use a second term to unleash a rash of gun control laws, the National Rifle Association rallied its members and political officials at the just concluded Republican National Convention.
"We see him as the most anti-gun president in modern times," NRA president David Keene told the Washington Examiner.