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Obama skeet shooting: NRA says it's a ploy to confiscate guns

That photo of President Obama firing a shotgun continues to generate comment and controversy just as he’s about to leave Washington to promote his ideas about improving gun safety.

By Staff writer / February 3, 2013

President Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., in August. The White House released a photo of Obama firing a gun two days before he heads to Minnesota to discuss gun control.

Pete Souza/The White House/AP

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That photo of President Obama firing a shotgun continues to generate comment and controversy just as he’s about to leave Washington to promote his ideas about improving gun safety.

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While some conspiracy theorists claim the photo of the president shooting skeet at Camp David is phony – digitally manipulated – most commentators accept it for what it is: A White House photo op to show that Mr. Obama has at least tried his hand at sport shooting.

"I believe that he shot skeet and if he does it and enjoys it, that's wonderful," Scott Melchisedech, former president of the Minnesota Skeet Shooting Association, told the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where Obama will talk about gun issues with law enforcement officials on Monday.

Still, Mr. Melchisedech suggested gently, “I could work with him a little bit on his form.”

A top official with the National Skeet Shooting Association said the photo suggests Obama is a novice shooter.

"This isn't something he's done very often because of how he's standing, how he has the gun mounted," Michael Hampton, executive director of the San Antonio-based association, told the Associated Press. Like others, Mr. Hampton questions the timing of the photo’s release, which was prompted by questions about Obama’s assertion in a New Republic interview that “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.”

"Once it becomes controversial and there's problems, to talk about it then, that's where it becomes very debatable and is not being received as well as if he would have done this six months ago," Hampton said.

How much do you know about the Second Amendment? A quiz.

The gun lobby sees something darker in the episode.

"One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable," said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

On “Fox News Sunday,” NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre charged that Obama’s aim is to confiscate law-abiding citizens’ rifles, shotguns, and handguns.

"During the campaign, when he said to people, 'I will not take away your rifle, shotgun, handgun,' they leafleted the country with flyers like this, 'Obama's not gonna take your gun,' 'Obama will protect gun rights,' ” Mr. LaPierre said. “And now he's trying to take away all three."

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