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. billybill

    DC vs Heller
    McDonald vs Chicago
    Congress and SCOTUS have already shown in recent years that they uphold the second amendment, all this other stuff is political posturing for votes and popularity with the full knowledge that this issue has already been fought and lost for gun control advocates. Feinstein and Obama know that, they are just pandering.

    January 28, 2013 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  2. Jerry

    Obama stated he goes "shooting all the time", the photos must be locked up with all of his other accomplishments

    January 28, 2013 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  3. Jerry

    Obama actually said that he goes shooting all the time,is that just like beyonce sings all the time?

    January 28, 2013 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  4. Adam

    Here is a hint for you. The Supreme Court already confirmed what the Constitutional Scholars have been saying for decades. The individual has the right to bear arms and they based it on not only the wording but the spirit of the laws intent. The 2nd Amendment was written so the people could have the same weapon that the military was using. At the time it was musket. However, nobody in their right mind would think that we would be using muskets for the next 246 years. So yeah Tom it does include a Semi-Automatic rifles. You think the 1st Amendment is any different because of Radio, TV, Internet? I know I will be allowed to own guns because I will not allow people like you to warp the truth and take away my rights so you can have the illusion of safety. Criminals don’t follow the laws they never have. Bans don’t work they tried with alcohol and it was a disaster. It turned regular people into criminals and the cash made fueled organized crime for decades. The same people who want to ban these rifles want to take all guns away from everyone. They just want to do it a little bit at a time. The AR 15 is a Semi-Automatic rifle not a machine gun. The Colt 1911 operates on the exact same principle I shot per trigger pull and reload from a magazine. No one has ever called a Colt 1911 an assault weapon. So any argument you make about the AR-15 could be made for ANY semi-automatic pistol and hence be banned at some point. No thanks comrade.

    January 28, 2013 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  5. lovemygirl

    Why are we even having a debate? The 2nd is very clear.

    Here is some background.
    Oh, really, now? LMAO! Tench Coxe (one of the principal authors of the 2nd Amendment) would disagree:
    “The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier , are the birth-right of an American … the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. ”

    Tench Coxe – Pennsylvania Gazette, February 20, 1788

    January 28, 2013 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  6. Mike

    How about RPG's? That's an "arm" that you see every single group fighting its tyrannical government using. If its tyranny your afraid of, how about letting citizens own and keep them(rocket propelled grenades). At some point it's all a matter of how we choose to define something. Most would consider RPG's in the hands of a private citizen off limits even though you're certainly going to need that kind of firepower to fight your tyrannical government. 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. It's all a matter of definition that the 2nd ammendmant simply did not elucidate.

    January 28, 2013 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  7. Here we go again

    That line about keeping your AR 15 to keep government in line is just dumb. The protection against 'government tyranny' had everything to do with the English tyranny 200 or so years ago.

    January 28, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  8. Jerry

    Most everyone knows this MAN and HIS subjects are a bunch of liars. Anything HE commits HIMSELF to, is ALWAYS highly questionable.

    Even some of HIS most ardent supporters are starting to question HIS clueless motives on gun control. Gun owners of América, beware!

    January 28, 2013 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  9. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    If you are a gun owner, obama has already told the CDC to consider you as diseased. If you own a gun obama says that you are sick, so if you believe obama that he will support gun owners then you are just stupid. Tyranny in government is what is coming and the only way to stop it is through a well armed public.

    January 28, 2013 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  10. drfast@flash.net

    Nearly everyone who presents a comment here seems to agree that the Government is going in the wrong direction on Gun Control. I totally agree with that sentiment, and I for one hope that it never happens. I do however want to propose something to all of you who feel as I do.
    I doubt that any member of Congress or the President, or even our State and local governments bother to read any of these comments. Perhaps some secretary or someone does but I doubt it. I believe the best thing we can do is to cut and paste every one of our comments to an email and forward it to just as many members of Government as we can find addresses for. If we cover them up with email, letters, phone calls, anything else we can think of, perhaps, just perhaps they will listen and kill this legislation before it gets a chance to become anything more. Send it to those we know are in favor of gun control, as well as those who are opposed to it. We need all the attention we can get to defeat this infringement on our rights.
    Please never, ever believe that something does not have a chance to pass. That belief has seldom been correct, we have to believe there is always a chance no matter how slim that it could be attached to some other piece of legislation and manage to pass that way. We must oppose it in every form, or they will find a way to sneak it in if the direct approach don't work

    January 28, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  11. EG

    Mr. President, Mr. Vice President and Sen. Feinstein for you a quick reminder:

    10th AMENDMENT

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    January 28, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  12. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Obama is a Liberal and what do Liberals do? They want to control.

    January 28, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  13. Adam Hamlin

    I'm pretty tired of the gun control arguement at this point. And, it has nothing to do with Obama or the government. It has everything to do with my own society and my own friends, neighbors, and family.
    If I have to hear about how, "Obama is not taking MY guns away!", I'm gonna lose my mind.
    It's not just the president. There are mant others in and out of governmental roles who feel the same way. And, they aren't "taking" anything away. If you already own an assault weapon, you can keep it. You just cant buy a new one. (IS that really so bad? What the hell are you all doing with assault weapons anyway?) Also, there would be a ban on clips holding over 10 rounds. I dont see a problem there, either. If you cant kill what you're aiming at in 10the rounds or less... You shouldn't even be allowed to own a gun of any kind. (Airsoft and pellet guns included.)
    I also want to remind everyone that you don't actually need an assualt weapon to overthrow a government. (As if ours is really all that bad anyway) Other countries have done it with shotguns, sticks, and rocks...
    I also, dare say, that if that "Idiot Cowboy Bush" had tried to, or did, impose these excutive orders... There would probably be a lot less stupid comments about the issue.

    January 28, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  14. tony

    Some of you guys posting here need to get your heads checked, and should not own guns you seem paranoid that some how the government is out to get you, and you want those guns specifically to fight against our military. What happen to support our troops now you want to kill them.

    January 28, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  15. Alex

    "The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they're really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies."

    1. You mean like Dianne Feinstein?
    2. Their Republican constituencies should be what they are "really concerned about." Those are the people they REPRESENT. Hence the term, "Representative." Just like Dem representatives should care about their Dem consituencies.

    "But if we can get through this first period and arrive at a sensible package that reduces our deficits, stabilizes our debts, and involves smart reforms to Medicare and judicious spending cuts with some increased revenues and maybe tax reform, and you can get a package together that doesn't satisfy either Democrats or Republicans entirely, but puts us on a growth trajectory because it leaves enough spending on education, research and development, and infrastructure to boost growth now, but also deals with our long-term challenges on health care costs, then you can imagine the Republicans saying to themselves, "OK, we need to get on the side of the American majority on issues like immigration. There are going to be some areas where that change is going to be very hard for Republicans."

    1. That first sentence is the longest sentence I think I have ever read. Thanks, Mr. President.
    2. Republicans need to get on the side of the American majority? How about you get on the side of the American majority? The majority that supports the NRA, the majority that said they would defy any new gun ban law (all three parties Repubs, Dems, and Independents were majority over 50% in saying they would defy), and the majority that disagrees with Obamacare.

    "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."

    1. Have you not been watching the laughable Piers Morgan debates?
    2. How about C N N and MSNBC who are in the White House's pocket? Rachel Maddow, Chris Mathews? Lean Forward? Ring any bells?

    January 28, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. GuestAgain

    Crime control, not gun control. Vote against all dems in 2014 elections before the nation is destroyed through disarmament, fiscal crisis and taxation

    January 28, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  17. Constitution Defender

    "I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within."
    – General Douglas MacArthur

    January 28, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. Constitution Defender

    "An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized
    due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15
    percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe,
    permanent neurological disability."
    Children are six times more likely to die in a swimming pool then be killed by a firearm. We should ban swimming pools too. Like Obama says if it saves just one child its worth it.

    January 28, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    "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," Pres. Obama predicted.
    That's a pretty big "if", The right wing sharks really enjoy their frenzies. On a related note, have you ever noticed how the right wing always accuses the left of not compromising? Yet, when someone on the right even remotely looks as if their trying to find some common ground, the right wing media has another feeding frenzy, rejecting the idea of compromise.

    January 28, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  20. 82nd ABN Vet

    The 2nd Ammendment isnt just about hunting or sport shooting (skeet). Its about the right to defend yourself and your loved ones, even if that means against tyrany. As per the working, it shall not be infringed.

    The proposed "Assault Weapons Ban" is only out to ban certian rifles/shotguns/pistols with COSMETIC FEATURES that some may deem as "scary". AR-15s are FUNCTIONALLY the same as semi-automatic handguns, shotguns, and other rifles legally available to the public. That means with each pull of the trigger, one round is discharged from the firearm, which in-turn chambers a new round automatically without additional user input (manually operating a bolt, like in most, not all hunting rifles). The only difference between ARs and a Browning BAR or a 1911 is that for the most part they are made black in color and you can add cosmetic features (collapsable stock, front hand grips, sights, etc).

    "Assualt Rifles" only make up the smallest fraction (2-5%) of all "weapons" used in murders nationwide. Handguns are used in almost 50% of all murders each year in the US. There are more murders commited by bare hands per year than all rifles in any given year. The same can be said about knives and other cutting objects. These stats are easily accessible via the FBI.

    During the previous "Assault Weapons Ban", Columbine was still carried out. Banning one type of weapon, will only make criminals use another type (Columbine – pistols and shotguns). And a "Gun Free Zone" sign is only going to keep law abiding individuals from bringing a weapon onto the premisis. A criminal or a deranged person will not see one and say to themselves, "Gee, maybe I shouldnt bring this gun on the school campus because aftter I shoot people up, I will be breaking a law".

    January 28, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  21. Brewers_Fan7

    To those of you who continually quote the "well regulated militia" portion of the second amendment I would encourage you to read what the founding fathers wrote about guns. Also, stop referring to AR-15s as "military style weapons", it just makes you sound stupid, as does using the term "assault rifle." These rifles are functionally no different from other civilian rifles, they just look like military weapons. They do not function in the same way, that is they are not fully automatic. They also represent such a small portion of violent crime as to be negligible.

    January 28, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  22. twiz123

    @Adam Hamlin and many others: Clearly you know very little about firearms. While you are highly likely of dying after being shot it often takes quite some time...time that could be used if you were an armed assailant to fight back and kill. Also in many gun fights, even involving professional law enforcement officers many rounds are fired without hitting their target. So your argument that if you can't get it done in 10 rounds you shouldn't have the gun in the first place is very insulting. Also what if there are multiple assailants? Most people do not carry a backup gun like police nor extra magazines. Finally and most importantly, its insulting to have our president talking about the 2nd Amendment as a "hunters law". NO ONE and I MEAN NO ONE of any scholarly background has ever tied hunting to the 2nd Amendment. I have heard many argue that the 2nd Amendment referred not to individuals but to standing militia's or armies. This is just one more way for him to brainwash you into thinking that taking away your rights is ok. I know I know you don't have or want a gun...yeah well I don't like to waste my time attending protests, but I like knowing its my right to do that if I choose to. Don't be so ready, in the face of a disaster to give up your rights...if you do we may wind up with another terrible bill like the Patriot Act...we all rolled over on that one.

    January 28, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  23. popseal

    Politicians generally make any problem worse. They hate guns so everything they say abot them causes people to go buy more. Well, in this instance, they do actually make things better. An armed society is a polite society......other than conversion to Christ or somebody with a gun, there are no other solutiions to human nature on the loose.

    January 28, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  24. CVW

    Not since the conclusion of the Vietnam War have the American people been so divided regarding the policies and practices of a presidential adminstration. If civil war breaks out over gun control, I want to be on the side that has the guns.

    January 28, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  25. Nick

    This President will never be pro-2nd Amendment. If he really was, he would dismiss the term "assault weapon" instead of using it to stoke emotions. His comment about "clinging to guns and Bibles" will also never be erased or explained away. He can make all the sound bites he wants but we all know he is trying to drive another wedge between groups.

    I'll be seriously surprised if he doesn't spark a civil war – wouldn't that be ironic?

    January 28, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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