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Obama Seeks to Quiet Gun Skeptics With Shotgun Photo

The White House released a photo of President Obama skeet shooting Saturday, in an apparent effort to earn the trust of gun-owning skeptics. Since the president placed gun control at the top of his second-term agenda, he has backed responsible gun owners and hunters, admitting that he too enjoys shooting for sport. The photo released Saturday seems to reinforce the president’s hobby, featuring him with shotgun in hand at Camp David.

“Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” Obama said in an interview with the New Republic released last week. “Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there.”

The photo is dated Aug. 4, 2012, the president’s 51st birthday. When asked earlier in the week how often the president shoots skeet, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that he did not know, but that pictures may exist, likely prompting Saturday’s release.

So far the image has done little to counteract conservative opinions of the president, earning even further criticism from the National Rifle Association. “One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable,” spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.

Proposed gun control legislation would curb assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, neither of which are used in skeet shooting. Obama’s photo strategy seems to sympathize with gun culture, rather than attack it.

“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,” Obama said in the interview.

“So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.”

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