Bloomberg News

Gun Control Backer Obama Says He Shoots Skeet at Retreat

January 27, 2013

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Maryland, on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. Photographer: Pete Souza/White House

President Barack Obama, who is seeking a ban on assault weapons, says he shoots skeet “all the time” at Camp David and respects the nation’s hunting tradition.

Obama told The New Republic magazine that at the presidential retreat in Maryland’s wooded Catoctin Mountains “we do skeet shooting all the time.”

“Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there” to shoot skeet, Obama said in an interview published in the magazine’s Feb. 11 issue. Obama, the father of two daughters, mentioned his interest in skeet shooting in response to a question on whether he had ever fired a gun. The president has made 26 trips to the retreat during his presidency.

Obama responded to a shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school last month by proposing legislation Jan. 16 to mandate background checks for all gun buyers, ban high-capacity ammunition clips, and reinstate a ban on sales of assault weapons.

Obama also signed 23 executive actions aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to new gun restrictions, including several designed to maximize prosecution of gun crimes and improve access to government data for background checks.

Twenty students and six educators were killed in a mass shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman’s main weapon was an assault-style rifle with high-capacity magazines, according to police.

“I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations,” Obama said in the interview. “Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas.”

Bridging those differences will be key to advancing any gun control legislation and the advocates of limiting firearms will have to “do a little more listening than they do sometimes.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Dorning in Washington at mdorning@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net


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