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. time for change

    "What can Obama do to keep the guns out of the hands of criminals?" Some are asking.. well there is this little thing known as the theory of supply and demand. If these weapons are not being made and if what the NRA is telling us is true that 98% of the guns are owned by law abiding citizens, then it would mean less guns available for the criminals. Get it yet?

    January 27, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Smoking joe

    Mr. Obama skeet shooting is only a piece of what the second amendment means . That's using a shotgun , while some people use pistols in speed shooting events , conceal carry etc. and there are hunters who use rifles to hunt , to target practice , while some use more traditional guns some people like to use models based off a real assault rifle (military grade automatics) to shoot targets , home defense . It comes to personal preference . By you attempting to take just one or any of these you infringe on the 2nd amendment and I say we as the American people should have the right to impeach you if you do so. It's only fair if you take 1/10th of Americans problem then we should be able to remove the 1/3rd of our problems

    January 27, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    FIne if you want to limit everyone to 10 round clips and no assault weapons then maybe the secret service agents should be held to this law also, and when his or his family's life is in danger well see what his thoughts are!

    January 27, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. RINO Bill

    Obama is going to waste all his political capital and momentum on this idiotic gun debate and have nothing left for the all-too-important climate change issues that desperately need to be addressed.

    January 27, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Crystal

    I'm glad that he has kept his promise to move on gun control and why are people here questioning the constitutionality of executive orders? They are there for a reason. GW Bush passed any executive orders. The measures didn't even outright ban guns and just strengthened the gun control laws that were already in place. What i hear from most anti-gun control advocates is that people need to enforce the laws that we have.

    January 27, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The GOP and the NRA should go to the Supreme Court and demand that we leave Afghanistan immediately and return all guns confiscated from the Afghans and Iraqis. After all, aren't they pro gun??? Then they should give al Qaeda permanent membership in the NRA.

    January 27, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. BeReasonable

    @time for change

    So you're willing to disproportionately punish the 98% in order to try go after the 2%?! How about instead we come up with laws which focus on raising the percentage where these "assault weapons" go 100% to law-abiding citizens and 0% to criminals... because criminals don't follow laws!

    January 27, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Time to ammend the 2nd ammendment. Need to include words, like sane, insane, responsible, normal intelligence-Just some little words that would destroy the NRA.

    January 27, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. mec

    It's utterly ridiculous to think that the 2nd Amendment is JUST for hunting and recreational shooting. It's also ridiculous to think that removing guns that RARELY get used in shooting is actually going to do any good. Frankly, it all stinks of disarmament because the guns they are targeting would actually benefit a society defending itself FROM itself or another country. That's what the 2nd Amendment ACTUALLY means. Punish the majority of the populace because a FRACTION of it can't control themselves. If we take that logic, we wouldn't have such terrible politicians an would have banned the rest of them long ago.

    January 27, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. johnnyhouse

    Everything is ridiculous to those who live on the taxpayer tab with the whole secret service at his disposal.the rest of the population has to live in the real world where the crimes happen.

    January 27, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. casdee

    ya! He"ll remember them when he takes their guns.

    January 27, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. johnnyhouse

    The less Obama does the less mess will have to be cleaned up after his reign is over.16 trillion and counting.

    January 27, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Eagle Eye

    The article started out with the President "skeet shooting" at "Camp David" it reports that the President has brought jpeople up to "Camp David" to do some skeet shooting. Then all of a sudden the reporter starts writing about the assualt weapons and the size of the magaazines. This has nothing do to with the skeet shooting at "Camp David" The government run liberal press is keeping this issue in the news everyday. The President signed 23 executive proposals for gun control. What the President is goiing to do is punish everry American who owns a gun legally and follows the letter to the law but not care about the criminals. The criminals are the one who are the problem not the law bidding citizens. It seem to me the government run liberal press and congress like the criminals and don't like the law biidding citizens. I want to know why there were no pictures of the President skeet shooting. The government run liberal press dosen't want people seeing the Presient shooting a gun.

    January 27, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Jeff

    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.

    That's funny...right wing media? So he thinks Fox News is somehow going to drown out the other 600,000,000 LEFT wing media outlets??? I love how he is finally acknowledging that the media isn't reporting what happens anymore...they are shaping public opinion now. They don't tell you what happened, they instead tell you how you fell and think about it. It's a sad joke...

    January 27, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. give it a rest already

    It's not all about the hunting or going Skeet shooting. It's about the 2 amendment. The right to keep and bear arms. To protect us from a take over of our government. That's what the dems can't figure out. Banning the guns will do nothing.

    January 27, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. RillyKewl

    Outside of law enforcement or the military, why does anyone need, or even want, any of these military-style weapons?
    Or the multiple-round gun clips? Its so much ammunition!
    They're so dangerous.

    January 27, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. don in albuquerque

    Um doggies. After reading these posts we should be proud of all the Constitutional Attorneys this country has put out.
    Makes me soooooo proud to have the Second Amendment explained to me by people who obviously have only read a couple of sentences from it.

    January 27, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    You're using the word "punishment" out of context. I believe punishment is when the NRA and the GOP laugh at the families of Newton while they buried their love ones. I believe that punishment is when the GOP lied about bogus WMDs in Iraq and invaded that country and murdered over 4,000 U.S. troops in the process. I believe that punishment is deliberately and recklessly abandoning and prolonging the Afghan war to invade Iraq and relegating our troops to extended mission when they should be home with their love ones. I believe punishment is shipping American jobs overseas, steamrolling the middle class and the poor while giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

    January 27, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. RillyKewl

    Some of these pro-gun people seem to think that they're gonna run into an al Qaeda cell somewhere out in the woods, any day now. Its ridiculous.

    January 27, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Coldsteel1983

    News for the president... the Second Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting, sports or target shooting. It is included in the Bill of Rights to provide for the citizens ability to throw off the yoke of an oppressive government.

    If indeed Obama is successful in pushing through these un-Constitutional grabs, the same rules should apply to police, government and their security. After all, since we'll be so safe, why would they need things like high capacity magazines, automatic weapons (not readily available to the public) and so called assault weapons. What's good for the goose needs to be good for the gander.

    Maniacs will strike out at society no matter what we do. Even implementing the rest of a 1984 style society with draconian controls won't remove the risk from a madman. The fact that none of the proposed EO's and laws would have stopped the most recent attack doesn't deter the gun grabbers. Also they ignore the geographic, demographic and ethnic statistics concerning gun violence. Why is it that the great majority of gun violence occurs in our urban areas, with the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, amongst specific minority groups and with a very high correlation to gang activity? Do you think there may be a message in those figures? A call to action other than punishing the freedoms of law abiding, tax paying American citizens? There is, but we won't hear it. All we'll hear is some drivel that it's "for the children", as always. disregard the Constitution. Ignore the existing laws that even the perfumer masquerading as the vice president admits aren't enforced, because 'they don't have time".

    So, we'll see what get rammed through and how the country (it's no longer a nation) functions with another schism driven between segments of the population. Exactly what we need. More division, anger and resentment.

    January 27, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. aliasooze

    It's not about gun control. It's about the perversion of the way they pass the drugs. It's about money and power to them. They know those drugs cause psychosis and suicde. It's about more control.

    January 27, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. silly

    If conservative media were an actual threat, republicans would've won in 2012. Liberal media is the propaganda arm of the DNC and stifle opposition with great success

    January 27, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. JLA

    When is he going to gegt it ? It's not about hunting and skeet shooting. 99 % of the shooters I know buy guns and ammo for self defense and defense of their families from the animals that democrats refuse to lock up. Everyone in southern New Mexico, Arizona and TExas has an AR-15 because Oama and Holder refuse to secure our border. Gangs and criminals come across every day. Despite what they tell you, they're not all here to mow our lawns. MS-13 gangs are now across the entire country. When huricane Sandy hit Long Island, we had not electricity, now phone lines and over half the cell telephone sites were down, so no cell phone service. Or governor Cuomo refused to send in the National Guard (after paying for all his welfare programs I suppose he had no money to pay for them). Middle class Long Island is well armed in many areas, and our Glocks and AR-15s served us well during those incredibly dark nights. We were literally left on our own. This situation can repeat itself any time a disaster strikes and an area is left abandoned. An AR-15 is a good deterent to a pickup truck full of trolls pulling into your drivway on a night like this. After Katrina, Police comfiscated many privately owned guns, and the aftermath for many families was gang robbery and rape of wives and daughters by Oama's 47 %. Why do law aiding citizens need assault rifles ? For times like that when the middle class is abandoned by local government. The people of Brooklyn, NY found that out the hard way after Sandy hit and NY City mayor Michael Bloombery refused to allow the national guard to come in even when Brooklyn Borough President MArty MArkum begged for it. Of course, Bloomberg kept all the cops in Manhattan to protect his rich friends and Brooklyn predictably turned into a zoo. One guy was defending his house there with a Browning Long Bow he used for deer hunding, but due to Bloomberg NY City laws, most citizens were left unarmed except for kitchen butcher knives and lawn tools. To Feinstein (who has a concealed carry license for San Francisco, let the average citizen try to get one and see what they tell him) and Schumer (who has a concealed carry license tnat no normal New York Citizen can get), why do your lives have value to be protected by guns, but those of the citizens of this country seemingly do not ? Our problem is not gun violence but people violence, and in NY city and Chicago, et. al., you kinow what people I'm talking about.

    January 27, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Dave Harris

    Gun owners are "concerned" that Obama is going to show up in the middle of the night in a sinister black helicopter and take away all their guns because he's an illegal alien comunist dictator. It's tempting to reassure them by pointing out that none of this is true, but they're having too much fun being crazy. If there really were away to take guns away from crazy people, you wouldn't have to look hard for them.

    January 27, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. rs

    The biggest problem in having a rational discussion about guns is getting past the NRA/GOP lies. NO ONE is talking about "taking guns away", yet that is the perpetual lie. Here in Arizona the GOP-controlled legislature is saying they are not going to have AZ. law enforcement enforce any new federal gun control laws!

    The NRA and the GOP- supporting the gun rights of mass-murderers. 1,00 Americans, dead because of guns in 5 WEEKS. The insanity must stop!

    January 27, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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