Obama goes skeet shooting ‘all the time’

President Obama says he regularly skeet shoots at Camp David and called on gun-control proponents to “do a little more listening” to gun owners in the national debate over firearms.

In an interview with The New Republic posted on Sunday Obama said that he and guests “do skeet shooting all the time” at the presidential retreat and said he understood why many rural voters were protective of their gun-ownership rights.

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“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,” said the president. “And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake."

Obama suggested that the divide over gun reform could be traced to the split between rural and urban areas and said he hoped to “bridge those gaps” in his push to stem gun violence.

“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,” said Obama. “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.”

Obama’s comments come as the White House has launched a forceful push to enact new gun-reform measures. Earlier this month the president signed a number of executive actions strengthening current gun laws and is pushing lawmakers to pass measures banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, as well as instituting universal background checks on purchasers.

The administration is mobilizing supporters to pressure lawmakers on the issue and the White House says they will hold campaign-style events to help build momentum.

Thousands of marchers also rallied on the National Mall on Saturday calling for tougher gun-control. And last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill which would ban the sale and manufacture of over 150 types of semi-automatic weapons and bar the sale of high-capacity clips.

But those measures face strong opposition from the nation’s gun lobby and GOP lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he will allow a vote on any gun measures which move through the Judiciary Committee, but has voiced doubts about passing a new assault-weapons ban, which is also unlikely to advance in the GOP controlled House.