January 27th, 2013
09:44 AM ET
10 years ago

Gun owners won't be forgotten in debate, Obama says

Washington (CNN) – His upcoming legislative push for tighter restrictions on firearms won't ignore the concerns of gun owners, President Barack Obama said in a wide-ranging interview published Sunday.

He pointed specifically to America's hunting and shooting tradition, which he said was also part of the tradition at Camp David, Maryland, the presidential retreat.

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"Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time," Obama said in the interview with The New Republic. He was responding to a question about whether he had ever fired a gun.

While his teenage daughters haven't partaken in skeet shooting - a sport where participants fire shotguns to break airborne clay disks - he has brought guests with him, he said in the interview.

"I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations," he said. "And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake."

A week and a half ago, Obama announced 23 executive actions - which don't require congressional approval - to strengthen existing gun laws and take related steps on mental health and school safety.

He also called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds, and to expand background checks to include anyone buying a gun, whether at a store or in a private sale at an auction or gun show.

The moves came in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 people dead, including 20 children.

As part of the lead-up to Obama's gun control package, Vice President Joe Biden met with groups with a stake in the debate, including gun owner groups and organizations representing gun manufacturers.

That openness to hearing gun owners' points of view must continue as the debate moves to Congress, Obama said.

"So much of the challenge that we have in our politics right now is that people feel as if the game here in Washington is completely detached from their day-to-day realities. And that's not an unjustifiable view," he said.

But in his interview, Obama also suggested the reverse was true - that some gun owners were deaf to the arguments coming from advocates of tighter restrictions on firearms.

"Advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes," he said.

Upcoming legislative battles, from gun control to increasing the federal debt ceiling, will be complicated if lawmakers are cowed by voices in the right-wing media, Obama argued.

"One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it," he predicted.

Filed under: Gun rights • President Obama
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. A-Rod

    @Mike – "I would say that a weapon that can fire 100 high velocity rounds in 100 seconds also doesn't belong in the hands of a citizen." What the hay is a high velocity round? I have fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition in my life and have never heard of a high velocity round. Also, 100 rounds in 100 seconds is pretty slow. That is one round every second. There are BBguns on the market with a faster rate of fire.

    January 28, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  2. BeReasonable

    @rs, @ftggfh123
    I don't know what it is, where instead of having some rationale discussion, you're left to slam me as an NRA tool. I'll say it again: LaPierre does not speak for me. Thinking that guns are responsible for gun violence is about as stupid as thinking that its just about culture and video games. I'm not a Care Bear, nor do I want to be some Grand Theft Auto Mercenary; I know right from wrong because I know both right and wrong _exists_.

    I want gun violence legislation that actually _works_, not some vindictive garbage as if guns are like tobacco. Things that actually stops creating criminals, prevents criminals from getting the guns, deters the criminals from committing the crimes, and then finally stops the criminals fast when they do. Want examples of some good ideas?

    1. I'm sorry, in order for me as a private individual to sell you this firearm, I am required to check that you have a valid firearms license and make sure via the DHS computer that your firearms ID lets you purchase this firearm legally.
    2. I'm sorry, in order for you to buy this firearm, you have to show you have a firearms ID and therefore prove that you know how to safety operate this firearm at all times, and not do something stupid like drop the mag and forget about the bullet in the chamber.
    3. I'm sorry Mrs. Lanza, your son is under going psychiatric treatment, legally all guns must be stored and secured in a combination safe so only you have access to them. Your son is not allowed to have access or control of any firearms.
    4. Mrs. Lanza, that AR-15 you bought is a semiautomatic rifle and therefore legally must be stored and secured in a combination safe so that only you have access to them.
    5. Adam Lanza, you know that Elementary School really isn't a gun-free zone, you may not want to go there.
    6. School districts, even if you don't want teachers to carry, ever even considered less lethal options like tasers?
    7. Police officers, I really appreciate the jobs you do, but you know that when a mass school shooting occurs, your response time needs to be just a little better than the 10+ minutes that Adam Lanza got.


    January 28, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. Ruby

    So the second amendment means that it is the civilians right to carry arms equivalent to the military? Wow. You are an entitled bunch. And you are a fool. We didn't have a standing army when they passes this amendment. So what military force are you basing this on??? Soooo, that must mean that everyone should mount up and someone needs to figure out how to conceal a nuke so every household will be even safer....... Do you seriously believe that if given orders our local police depts would turn their guns on their communities and their families?? Do you really think our United States Air Force would obey orders to fly through our cities and bomb them? There is no secret army only loyal to the president. You are either paranoid and need to get back on your meds or you are not smart enough to bring anything intelligent to the table.

    January 28, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous wrote on page 3:

    Did you notice that one of the weapons that would be banned under Feinstein's bill is a .22 caliber rifle? Give me a break. Next thing we know we will have a ban on air rifles and pellet guns. Who knows, they could be considered to be assault rifles.
    Nope. Didn't notice that, not at all. I don't plan on going back and looking for it, either, because I know it ain't there.

    January 28, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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