Two days before U.S. President Barack Obama's first trip outside Washington to promote his gun-control proposals, the White House tried to settle a brewing mystery when it released a photo to back his claim to be a skeet shooter.
In a recent interview with The New Republic magazine, Obama said "yes" when asked if he had ever fired a gun. He said "we do skeet shooting all the time," except for his daughters, at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
The White House photo released Saturday is dated Aug. 4, 2012, and shows Obama shooting at clay targets on the range at Camp David.
The rifle is cocked in Obama's left shoulder, his left index finger is on the trigger and smoke is coming from the barrel.
White House press secretary Jay Carney did not immediately respond Saturday when asked to comment on the decision to release the photo. But it could be part of an effort to portray Obama as sympathetic to gun owners and opponents of his gun-control measures who argue the proposals would infringe on an individual's right to bear arms which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The release of the photo also followed skeptical comments from some who went public with their doubts that the president went skeet shooting "all the time."
NRA not impressed
The National Rifle Association, which has rejected Obama's gun-control proposals, scoffed at the photo.
"One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable," said Andrew Arulanandam, the organization's spokesman.
The NRA opposes Obama's call for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and says requiring background checks for all gun purchases would be ineffective because the administration isn't doing enough to enforce existing gun laws.
Obama is pushing a package of gun-control measures in response to the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.