TWO shootings in the US in less than a day have left 29 people dead and more than 50 injured – and revived calls for stricter gun control laws.

A gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in a downtown district of Dayton, Ohio, early yesterday killing at least nine people and wounding a further 26. The dead included the killer’s sister and her boyfriend.

The incident began at 1am local time in Dayton’s Oregon district, a neighbourhood known for its nightclubs, bars, art galleries and shops. Officers on patrol in the area reached the scene shortly after the shooting began and confronted the assailant.

In a Twitter post, Dayton Police Department said: “We had officers in the immediate vicinity when this shooting began and were able to respond and to put an end to it quickly.”

Ten people were killed, including the gunman, and 16 others were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. FBI agents are helping with the investigation.

The shooting happened at or near a bar called Ned Peppers, and video footage on social media showed numerous police and fire department vehicles parked in the area.

Nikita Papillon, 23, was at Newcom’s Tavern when the shooting started across the street and said she saw a girl she had talked to earlier lying outside Ned Peppers.

“She had told me she liked my outfit and thought I was cute and I told her I liked her outfit and I thought she was cute,” Papillon said. She had been to the bar the night before and said it was the kind of venue “you don’t have to worry about someone shooting up the place”.

Tianycia Leonard, 28, was in the back of Newcom’s and heard “loud thumps” she initially thought were the sound of people pounding on a skip.

She said: “It was so noisy but then you could tell it was gunshots and there was a lot of rounds.”

The atrocity in Dayton followed a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, where 20 people were killed on Saturday morning.

Police and FBI investigators in Texas are searching for clues to explain what drove a young man from the Dallas area to open fire on people at a shop hundreds of miles away.

Texas governor Greg Abbott, a supporter of gun rights, tried to focus on mental health issues instead of easy access to weapons.

Abbott, who once said he was “embarrassed” that Texas was second to California in gun sales, said Saturday morning’s rampage appeared to be a hate crime and police cited a “manifesto” they attributed to the suspect as evidence that the bloodshed was racially motivated.

The shooting reverberated on the US presidential campaign trail, with several Democratic candidates denouncing the rise of gun violence and repeating calls for tighter gun control measures.

At least two candidates, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman, drew connections to a resurgence in white nationalism and xenophobic politics in the United States.

“America is under attack from homegrown white nationalist terrorism,” Buttigieg said in Las Vegas.

US president Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice … there are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”

However, in 2017, Trump said: “Let me make a simple promise. I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Shannon Watts, who describes herself as the National Rifle Association’s worst nightmare, tweeted: “Allowing the gun lobby to write our nation’s gun laws is literally killing us.

“We don’t have to live this way. We sure as hell shouldn’t die this way. ACT.”