The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 2, 2013

White House photo shows Obama skeet shooting at Camp David

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

“Why haven’t we heard about it before?” Carney was asked.

“Because when he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs,” Carney said.

Obama is accompanied almost everywhere by at least one White House photographer.

Carney declined to comment on the decision to release the photo, which he had announced on Twitter. The release appeared to be part of a strategy to portray Obama as sympathetic to gun owners and opponents of his gun-control measures who argue the proposals would infringe on an individual’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.

A top official with the National Skeet Shooting Association said the photo suggests 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 Obama’s remark about “skeet shooting all the time” and the White House photo would have met less skepticism had the president 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 interview, appearing in The New Republic’s Feb. 11 issue, 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,” 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.”

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