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June 28, 2017

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White House releases photo of president skeet shooting

WASHINGTON -- The White House has released a photo of President Barack Obama skeet shooting in an apparent bid to allay concerns by gun owners that he opposes firearms following a school massacre in December.

The photo was made public as Obama prepares to hit the road Monday to push his plan to curb gun violence as he presses Congress to enact sweeping gun restrictions.

The effort to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines has become a centerpiece of the president's second term agenda after a disturbed man gunned down 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14 in the once quiet town of Newtown, Connecticut.

But his measures — both proposed legislation and executive orders — face stiff opposition from the firearms lobby, as well as from politicians, critics and gun enthusiasts who contend they will infringe upon the constitutional right to bear arms.

In recent days, Obama has made efforts to show that he is no stranger to sports shooting despite his efforts to stem rampant firearms violence.

The president said last week that he had picked up skeet shooting as a hobby, telling The New Republic that he shot at clay pigeons "all the time."

But his newfound love for the shooting sport was met with skepticism from conservative skeptics. Obama had not previously mentioned his skeet shooting habit in public.

The newly released photo, taken on Aug. 4 at the president's Camp David retreat in Maryland and posted on the White House's Flickr page on Friday, shows Obama firing at clay targets, according to the caption.

The president, in jeans and a black polo shirt and wearing protective glasses and ear muffs, is seen looking down the barrel of a shotgun locked on his left shoulder moments after pulling the trigger, with smoke spewing out the barrel.

There was no confirmation, however, of when Obama — an avid basketball player — took up the hobby and how regularly he practices.

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