NRA scoffs at Obama skeet shooting photo - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

NRA scoffs at Obama skeet shooting photo

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Courtesy The White House Courtesy The White House
WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS) -

When President Obama said in a recent interview that he goes skeet shooting "all the time" at Camp David, the skeptical questions began almost immediately. At a White House press briefing, one reporter asked how often the president shoots skeet and why he's never discussed it before.

To silence the skeptics, the White House released a photo of the president firing a rifle at a clay target at Camp David on August 4, 2012 - Mr. Obama's birthday.

But if the White House hoped to win friends among gun-rights supporters by releasing the photo, they may want to reconsider their approach.

The National Rifle Association, which has rejected Mr. Obama's gun control proposals, scoffed at the photo.

"One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable," said Andrew Arulanandam, the organization's spokesman.

The NRA opposes Mr. Obama's call for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and says requiring background checks for all gun purchases would be ineffective because the administration isn't doing enough to enforce existing gun laws.

A top official with the National Skeet Shooting Association said the photo suggests Mr. Obama is a novice shooter.

"This isn't something he's done very often because of how he's standing, how he has the gun mounted," said Michael Hampton, executive director of the San Antonio-based association.

Hampton said Mr. Obama's remark about "skeet shooting all the time" and the White House photo would have met less skepticism had the president's spoken about his hobby months before this new debate over guns in the U.S.

"Once it becomes controversial and there's problems, to talk about it then, that's where it becomes very debatable and is not being received as well as if he would have done this six months ago," Hampton said.

In the interview, appearing in The New Republic's Feb. 11 issue, Mr. Obama said gun-control advocates should be better listeners in the debate over firearms, which was sparked by the December killing of elementary school pupils in Connecticut. He also declared his deep respect for the long tradition of hunting in this country.

"I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake," Mr. Obama said. "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. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that."

"So it's trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes," Mr. Obama said.

His gun control measures also have met resistance on Capitol Hill.

In Minneapolis on Monday, Mr. Obama plans to make remarks and discuss his proposals with local and law enforcement officials during a stop at the police department's special operations center. He's also expected to hear from community members about their experiences with gun violence.

Mr. Obama announced his proposals in mid-January, about a month after the Dec. 14 shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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