White House posts Obama shooting picture on Flickr

President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Maryland, in this White House handout photo taken 4 August 2012 The photograph apparently shows Mr Obama shooting clays at Camp David

The White House has released a picture of Barack Obama skeet-shooting - seemingly to settle a row over whether the president had fired a gun before.

Mr Obama recently told the The New Republic magazine: "Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time."

The photo, dated 4 August 2012, shows Mr Obama standing in jeans, polo shirt, sunglasses and ear defenders, aiming a shotgun that has a smoking barrel.

He is due in Minneapolis on Monday to discuss his gun-control proposals.

Asked this week why more had not been said about Mr Obama's shooting habits before, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said: "Because when he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs."

Bridging gaps

The photograph apparently shows Mr Obama shooting clay targets on the range at the Maryland retreat.

Guns in America

Gun murder graph
  • While some 46% of households and 29% of individuals said they owned a gun in 1990, two decades later this had fallen to 32% and 21%.
  • DC has the most gun homicides; Connecticut has fewer than average
  • For more statistics, as well as the difference between a semi-automatic rifle and pistol, visit the BBC's In statistics: Guns in the US

The New Republic interview, carried in the magazine's 11 February issue, quotes Mr Obama as saying he has great respect for US hunting traditions, while advising gun-control advocates to be better listeners in the firearms debate.

"I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations," he is quoted as saying. "And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. 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 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."

"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," Obama said.

President Barack Obama last month proposed sweeping measures on guns, including a renewed ban on assault rifles and wider background checks on buyers.

The announcement came a month after the 14 December killings of 20 children and six adults at a primary school in Connecticut.

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