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. Name lynn

    What can obama try to do about the gun control an how to stop the guns from getting in the wrong people hands.

    January 27, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. jonaty

    What debate? Using his office to create 23 new laws in an end around of Congress and the Constitution is not a debate, it's a "Decree" from someone who believes he is King.

    January 27, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Joseph

    Gun owners know the gun control advocates want to do away with guns entirely. So, they cannot trust anything the gun control advocates say – it will be a lie at best.

    January 27, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Obama first term was pro gun , second term he won’t take the gun from its owners simple

    January 27, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    That would be a lie.

    Obama has every intention of trampling on our Constitutional rights, as Americans, because he does NOT believe in America. He is a socialist, and re-distributionist, who wants to rob the rich to give to the poor, so they can do NOTHING!

    Like Lincoln, he would murder tens of thousands, to force his way on America, as h is clearly demonstrating with his attacks on State's rights.........it is 1860, all over again!

    January 27, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Dan5404

    George Bush used executive orders 291 times, including some gun control measures. Obama is at about 150, and far behind most presidents. Clinron and Carter were fairly low in numbers. All presidents use them, and the anger is if you are on the wrong side.

    January 27, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Ben

    There are many gunowners, includlng myself, who understand the need for regulations and restrictions. There is a middle ground on this issue - and President Obama is doing everything he can to find that middle ground.

    January 27, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. No Party Patriot

    Why People are so sacred of Obama has always puzzled me? He's just a man, he has no more powers as president as any other president. However just the thought that he may do something sends many people into a panic. Don't get it, he's just one guy, he can't pass any laws by himself . If you really look at them the 23 executive orders didn't do squat. Relax for Christ sakes.

    January 27, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. tiredofnonsense

    Long time Anti-Gun Advocate State Senator R.C. Soles, 74, shot one of two intruders at his home just outside Tabor City , N.C. about 5 p.m. Sunday, the prosecutor for the politician's home county said.

    The intruder, Kyle Blackburn, was taken to a South Carolina hospital, but the injuries were not reported to be life-threatening, according to Rex Gore, district attorney for Columbus, Bladen andBrunswick counties..
    The State Bureau of Investigation and Columbus County Sheriff's Department are investigating the shooting, Gore said. Soles, who was not arrested,declined to discuss the incident Sunday evening.

    "I am not in a position to talk to you," Soles said by telephone. "I'm right in the middle of an investigation."
    The Senator, who has made a career of being against gun ownership for the general public, didn't hesitate to defend himself with his own gun when he believed he was in immediate danger and he was the victim.

    In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, the "Do as i say and not as i do" Anti-Gun Activist Lawmaker picked up his gun and took action in what apparently was a self-defense shooting. Why hypocritical you may ask? It is because his long legislative record shows that the actions that he took to protect his family, his own response to a dangerous life threatening situation, are actions that he feels ordinary citizens should not have if they were faced with an identical situation.

    It has prompted some to ask if the Senator believes his life and personal safety is more valuable than yours or mine.
    But, this is to be expected from those who believe they can run our lives, raise our kids, and protect our families better than we can.

    January 27, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Tumbleweed

    When are these Democrats going to be HONEST, stop suggesting the 2nd Amendment is NOT about "America's hunting and shooting tradition," and OWN UP to the truth that it's FIRST AND FOREMOST a GUARANTEE against GOVERNMENT TYRANNY?

    January 27, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Ralph

    "Gun owners won't be forgotten in debate," Obama says: He has not, and will not ask for any constructive inclusion of gun owners and their reasoned input into any (discussion) decision he has made or will make, and only desires to pursue his agenda......... that is his only goal as concers guns.
    He would get far more tracktion with gun owners if he and others.....mostly in the democratic wing of our political system...if he would recognize that the second ammendment never was about hunting or the sporting life, BUT DEFENSE OF NATION, SELF, and a TYRANICAL GOVERNMENT. Period !!!! When and if that is recognized we have no constructive dialogue to engage in with them.

    January 27, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. BeReasonable

    If ban all semiautomatic weapons, handguns and rifles, we would not stop mass shooting but simply reduce the high body counts; but doing so would disproportionately punish the millions of law abiding citizens, many of whom are ex/ military and law enforcement, that have already purchased these weapons by preventing their resale and transfer to their children.

    A better alternative, instead of regulating the kind and supply of the weapons, would be to regulate the kind and demand of their owners by creating a licensing program. We already have tiered FFL for dealers of firearms, we should create a similar tiered system for responsible gun owners. Higher capability weapons would need proportionately increasing requirements for training, safe storage, and sale or transfer. A licensing program would have a great impact in keeping weapons out of the hands of current or would-be criminals, while still allowing a path of responsible ownership to law-abiding citizens without punishing them.

    January 27, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Patrick Henry

    Follow the Constitution or face a Revolution. Its really that simple.

    January 27, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Larry L

    @Rick McDaniel

    Like Lincoln, he would murder tens of thousands, to force his way on America, as h is clearly demonstrating with his attacks on State's rights.........it is 1860, all over again!
    ===================================================================================================== Hey... a new conspiracy theory! The world of the right-wing wackos is at least filled with imagination and fantasy. I hear he plans to make us all gay, Muslims, driving Prius' and wearing Birkenstocks. Is that what you heard?

    January 27, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. tchrider

    AGAIN: The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting!! And the representatives sent from the states are supposed to do just that, represent their districts, not Washington D.C. or Chicago. This guy, sadly, wants to rule omnipotently.

    January 27, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Big Bird

    He won't forget gun owners, he will try to screw them any way he can.

    January 27, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. snickit

    There is no debate, it is not about hunting. The media is already spinning this to have sheepel quote that a majority want banned guns and the NRA are evil. Shamefull

    January 27, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. MrProp

    Anyone who reads the news will witness senseless slaughter such as what happened at Sandy Hill on a daily basis, such as a bus full of passengers including children, driving off an icy road over a cliff suffering numerous fatalities like what happened in Oregon, a few weeks ago. And I chose this example because there is a similarity to the gun control situation. When we hear of news like this bus, we are horrified by it of course at first, but do we demand that all buses be banned? Well, maybe we do if after an investigation into the cause we find some sort of defect in safety standards or equipment. But we certainly don't presume to ban all drivers of buses or the buses – that would be absurd and a blatant violation of civil rights due to illegal government confiscation.

    Now with the gun control situation. Where is the investigation as to the cause of this incident and the study of causality with similar incidents? There is none, because the cause is assumed to be the guns and gun owners, and not the mental defects who wrongfully came into possession of the guns. And then a "task force" was assembled to address not the true cause of the incident(s), but what we could do about it before a cause was even established. And so how are we gun owners supposed to take this statement that "we will not be forgotten" seriously? Like we are no longer even in the debate!

    January 27, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    An historic ban on assault weapons in America and the derailment of the NRA and the gun toting republicans are academic. Let's face it, there are a lot more registers voters in America who are anti NRA gun lobbyist than there are pro gun lobbyist in America. Yal will soon be history.

    January 27, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. don in albuquerque

    You know so far, I have not heard one: ONE, person advocate outlawing guns completely, or a govt siezure of guns (even assult weapons). Most of the post here have got to be coming from Marvin the Martian who fears the Evil Empire is about to attack him. Obama has done nothing but increase the laws that favor the gun advocate. And this continually calling him a Socialist, and a Communist are undoubtly coming from people who would not know a Socialist, from a Southern Baptist.

    January 27, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. billmelater1

    Obama is trying to convince everyone (Especially the Low Information Voter) that the 2nd amendment is for Hunting. Unfortunately they will believe that.

    January 27, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. nwgunslinger

    If he things this is about an over/under shotgun he's in for a big surprise. His ban on modern sporting rifles (what he calls an assult weapon) is flat out unacceptable. To limit a citizen's access to firearm technologly developed newer than a 100 years old is akin to limiting a citizen's access to the internet..

    He's fine with us havuing access to guns that are bolt action, single shot, pump action and maybe even revolvers but he doesn't want us to have semi-auto weapon technolgy which was first developed in the 1890s.

    We're either free or we're not.

    January 27, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Fil

    Hm... Making all us gays... That's an interesting proposition! How about a "gay experience" classes in middle and high schools? Boy o boy kisses? Sounds absurd, right? But just a few decades ago condom training classes would be just equally absurd. Now it is normal. So, wouldn't be surprised if something like this popped up in SF, for example, in the next few years.

    It used to be prohibited. Now it is widespread and normal. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes mandatory.

    Cohen the Barbarian

    January 27, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    A republican controlled House, Senate and Executive branch voted overwhelmingly to invade and take away the guns of the Afghans and the Iraqis. So what about their sovereign and unalienable rights to bare their own guns? Why the double standard and the right wing hypocrisy? Perhaps the Afghans and Iraqis should either join the NRA or lobby the UN top get their guns back.

    January 27, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Do some research before posting

    @ tiredofthenonsense.

    Your account of "liberal SC senator using a gun in self defense is misleading and deceptive. 2 minutes of research reveals that while he was in the SC House,he most decidedly was NOT an "anti-gun advocate" as you put it. His gun-friendliness is shown by his rating by the NRA. Over his entire time in SC politics, he received no grade lower than a "B", and received mostly A or B+ marks.

    Your comment is a direct cut and paste from a proven to be false.

    January 27, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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