Let’s hope he’s a better shot than he is a bowler.
President Barack Obama has revealed that he is a regular shooter, according to an interview posted Sunday at The New Republic:
FF: Have you ever fired a gun?
Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.
FF: The whole family?
Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.
It is odd that the president would make that claim only now, after several years of tough campaigning, where such a revelation would have earned him both interest and praise from the voters he once dismissed as “bitter.”
It is unclear whether Obama meant to include himself in his response; he is not directly quoted as saying he personally went shooting, but that “we”–people staying at Camp David–did so. He did not include or exclude himself specifically.
But if Obama did, indeed, mean to refer to himself, it would not be the first time he has boasted of his sporting knowledge or prowess–often without the evidence to back him up.
He has long claimed to be a fan of the Chicago White Sox, for example, but could not name a single White Sox player when asked, and incorrectly referred to the name of their home stadium as “Cominskey Field.” His basketball skills are also somewhat oversold: NBA commissioner David Stern said President Obama is “not as good as he thinks he is.”
In his infamous bowling stunt during the Democratic primary in 2008, then-Sen. Obama bowled a 37, rolling his first ball straight into the gutter as the cameras rolled. Later, in an appearance on The Tonight Show, Obama mocked his performance as being worthy of the “Special Olympics,” a remark for which he was criticized and later apologized
Obama’s shooting claim is evidently meant to assuage critics of his gun control proposals by reassuring them that he shares their enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights–not just sport shooting, but hunting in particular.
Yet supporters of gun rights insist that the Second Amendment is about far more than hunting or even self-defense.
As Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro told Piers Morgan during their debate earlier this month: “The basis of the second amendment is not really about self defense and it’s not about hunting. It’s about resistance to government tyranny. That’s what the founders said and that’s what the right believe in this country.”
Nearly two-thirds of the nation–not just gun owners–agreed with Shapiro in a recent Rasmussen poll.
Curiously, the president attempted to draw a distinction between gun ownership in rural areas versus urban areas, according to the interview:
Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, 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.
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.
Were any other politician to have made such a distinction, they might well have been accused of racism.
Whether the Constitution recognizes such geographic distinctions or not, the president’s warning contrasts with the views of at least some law enforcement agencies. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. recently urged residents to become familiar with the use of firearms for their own protection.
This much can be said for President Obama: if he is indeed as regular a shooter as he claims to be, he has not shot anyone in the face.