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home : opinion : opinion April 28, 2016

2/7/2013 6:01:00 AM
Outdoor Column: Obama's skeet photo raises questions

Don Martin
The Great Outdoors

Who would have ever thought that a photo of the president of the United States purportedly shooting a shotgun would cause so much stir?

It is no secret that President Obama and the far-left Democrats are pushing for stronger gun control, including bans on certain firearms that they deem are "assault weapons" when in fact they are just semi-auto rifles.

But good grief, should a photo of President Obama shooting a shotgun cause a lot of controversy? No, it shouldn't, as other former presidents have been photographed with guns, and particularly shotguns.

But right now this photo seems to be all over the press.

At first, when I saw the photo, I didn't think much of it, probably like most of you. All I could think of was, "Wow - the president shoots skeet?"

But then I looked at the photo very closely, and a number of things just didn't look right.

And, judging from what I've seen written by others in the national press, they too have some serious questions about the validity of the photo.

I'm not going to turn this article into a gun rights debate. There are enough folks out there, along with the National Rifle Association, who seem to be doing a good enough job with that.

No, I'm just going to bring out some points about the photo that I think are interesting both to shotgun shooters and others.

Let me preface this with a little background about myself and the knowledge I have pertaining to shotguns and shooting skeet, which is supposedly what the president was doing when this controversial photo was taken.

When I was in the Army in Europe, I participated in skeet shooting, which is a shotgun sport where small clay targets, or "birds," are shot at. A round of skeet consists of 25 targets.

I shot skeet semi-professionally and shot skeet with all four guns (12 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge and .410) that are commonly used in the sport. I ran the Wertheim Rod and Gun Club's trap and skeet range in Germany, and personally shot thousands of rounds of shotgun shells.

I still shoot skeet at the local Seven Mile Hill Range, so yes, I am familiar with the sport.

Targets are machine-launched out of two stationary buildings. They are called a high house and a low house. Shooters move around in a half circle and at eight different stations shoot at two to four targets.

Shotguns shoot shotgun shells that are loaded with smokeless powder in this sport.

So when I saw the amount of smoke coming not only from the front of the barrel but also to the right side of the barrel, I had some questions.

Yes, some shotguns are "ported," which means they have holes cut or drilled into both sides of the barrel near the muzzle. This process lets gas produced by the shells escape. It is designed to reduce recoil and the amount of "jump" when a gun is fired.

I have NEVER seen a shotgun that wasn't ported on both sides, though in the photo you plainly see smoke coming out of the right side of the barrel, but not the left. I have never seen or heard of a shotgun ported only on one side.

Then what about all that smoke? The president is holding what seems to be a high-dollar over/under shotgun. I have never seen shotgun shells - even those produced in European countries - produce that much smoke.

Remember, they are loaded with smokeless powder.

Assuming that the president was shooting high-quality shotgun shells manufactured in the good ole USA, there would NEVER be that much smoke produced.

One could expect that much smoke to be produced from a muzzleloader shotgun, but the shotgun the president is purported to be holding is NOT a muzzleloader firearm.

So what is to be made out of all of this?

Well, without a lot more information to the contrary, one could reasonably deduce that maybe, just maybe, the smoke was added to the photo after it was taken.

If President Obama does shoot skeet - and I hope he does, as it is a lot of fun - he might want his staff to take a photo of him at an actual shooting range.

That way, there would a lot less controversy about whether or not this president actually participates in the shotgun shooting sports.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: No One No Where


Actually Liberal Lion made an issue of the number when he stated it was 29 kids, I was simply making sure the record stays straight. It may have been an obvious error to you and maybe even most, however it may not have been so obvious to some. Therefore it is best to keep the facts straight. Why? Because most of what people post here is of their own opinion and they are wholly entitled to believe whatever they want. Now if you have anything specific in mind please say what it is they are saying that is so ludicrous and show some subjective evidence that it is ludicrous. Without specifics you can't check the facts.

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

Jimi Lightfoot wrote:

"Sorry, everytime I debate with a liberal I briefly drop in I.Q." Wow! This comment was precious! It should be on a bumper sticker. I just had to copy it here to make sure we all had a chance to enjoy it!

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“No it's not the number that bothers me.”

Obviously it is because you made it an issue.

“So yes AN, if you want to have an honest debate then you do need to keep the facts accurate, 20 kids and 6 adults died, not 29 kids.”

I agree, accuracy is important and I am not the one who made the error. I simply pointed out that it was an obvious error, but in the overall context is the number 26 or 29 dead the issue or is it the killings?

You seem to be concerned with the truth and yet I have not seen you posting any criticisms or corrections when it comes to the individuals who show up here posting the most ludicrous nonsense about our president? Why?

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Schmo

@OKR and Jim Lightfoot:

My point is not to suggest that everyone who disagrees with the president on every issue is a racist. My point is that no other president has been disrespected at the level that President Obama has. No other president has been asked to present his birth certificate and then when he does so is still called a liar. No other president has had his religious beliefs questioned and then when he professes that he is indeed a Christian is still called a liar. No other president has been accused of trying to become a tyrant by taking away everyone's guns and buying up hollow-point bullets for a private army.

The fact that this paper sees fit to publish such paranoid nonsense makes it very likely I will not be renewing my subscription.

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013
Article comment by: No One No Where


No it's not the number that bothers me. It's the fact that you and the rest of your liberal ilk constantly claim that conservatives are trying to rewrite history as they would like it to seem to have been. But then when it is pointed out to you so glaringly, and your own attitude about it is quite lethargic when you've had your had caught in the cookie jar, it brings into doubt and question everything else you've said and advocated for when you can't even be honest with yourself. So yes AN, if you want to have an honest debate then you do need to keep the facts accurate, 20 kids and 6 adults died, not 29 kids. Please keep your own revisionist history to yourself.

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: Doing Research


Hey, in case you ever need to vent about the crazy stuff people post on here, there's a really great place:

What's funny it how frequently the posts on there frequently mirror what shows up in the KDM a few days later.

Though my latest favorite is that 9/11 was supposed to be a way to kill Michael Jackson, who was an Illuminati pop music brainwashing machine. Thanks to clues he must have found (or placed?) on the cover of 1997 album History, he subconsciously couldn't sleep the night before and was late to a meeting at the WTC on 9/11.

It all makes sense now, doesn't it?

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ Joe

You're absolutely right! Up until we had the first half black president in the White House, all white Americans were in 100% agreement with every action and word ever performed or uttered by every president since George Washington.

It has got to be racism that is causing some people to speak out against some of the actions of Obama. Even though those racist people have specific issues that they are speaking out about, and they can give very specific and logical arguments to support their complaints, we all know that it is really all about the fact that Obama had a black father.

It is just to bad that all 300,000,000 of us just can't agree on every issue the way we did before Obama was elected.

Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

Darn, aother typo. Joe, I meant to say,

"And Joe, using your theory, NOT agreeing with me makes you a racist, as I am too a minority."

Sorry, everytime I debate with a liberal I briefly drop in I.Q.

And by the way. Bush landing on a aircraft carrier is not an attempt to fool people into giving up their 2nd Ammendment Rights.

Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

Don Martin
Good letter and I too wondered about the smoke and the up high on his shoulder of the shot gun.
If the gun had clearly shown that it was a plastic toy from Toys are us and the smoke had been pink, the left would believe every minute of it.
You can fool some of the people some of the time but it seems like with this president he has fooled a whole lot of people into voting for him no matter how phony he is.

Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Article comment by: Marla Kiriakidis

All this hate toward one man. It doesn't matter what he says or does. If you ask a 5th grader what the Civil War was about they will say slavery, World War 2, they will say Jews being killed. And a hundred years from now when they talk about the first black President and all the "birthers" they will call it racism. Whether or not that is true about any of you will not matter. That IS how it will be remembered.

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Stop TheConsipracyTheories

Mr. Martin - I've shot a fair amount of skeet myself and guns in general. Did you stop to consider that perhaps the gun had just been cleaned? I've seen freshly cleaned guns smoke quite a bit. You have as well if you shoot as much as you claim to. I get so blasted tired of the conspiracy theories you all conjer up about this president. I would also like to see you, as a "nature writer" write a piece on nature that doesn't include killing an animal.

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Or was that just a typo? I doubt the latter.”

It was most likely a typo no matter what you might think. And is it really important if the number of dead is 26 or 29? Really – that’s what’s bothering you?

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

Joe Schmo again tries to imply that if you don’t agree with the President or question his well concealed background, you’re racists.

For the record Clinton enacted and attempted stronger legislation against the 2nd Amendment and the people reacted just as strongly or stronger.

The backlash of the proposed abolishment of the 2nd Amendment led to Waco and more importantly, directly connect to the Oklahoma City bombing.

And Joe, using your theory, agreeing with me makes you a racist, as I am too a minority.

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Doing Research


Well, it was the first thing that came up when I googled "obama skeet conspiracy debunked." You need to take up your "LOL"ing with Google.

Generally Snopes comes up for that stuff, but apparently they haven't seen this as a big enough conspiracy theory, or maybe too new, to bother with it.

If you had read the article you'd see that this person who wrote this did so specifically because people who buy in to this conspiracy bother him because it's so stupid.

I agree with Nice Try.... this is a distraction from the point. For you as a gun rights advocate, you should stop letting your own group get derailed by this 100% useless use of your time and energy. It doesn't defend your rights in the least to pick apart something like this.

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Ms Athens

“There are dozens and dozens of lists of lies attributed to them that can be proven.”

And yet no matter how many times you have been asked to provide said “proof” you have been unable to do so. Why is that?

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013
Article comment by: Rootin' Tootin'

How about the flight suit on the aircraft carrier and the "Mission Accomplished' banner? Or shooting his hunting buddy in the face with the shotgun? Oh, wait a minute... never mind.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: No One No Where

@Liberal Lion

Well isn't that interesting...... You and the other liberals around here, AN, DR, LGD etc. just love to accuse conservatives of rewriting history on a regular basis. So please tell me just how it is that 20 dead kids and 6 dead adults in Newtown, CT now becomes 29 dead kids. So are YOU now trying to rewrite history so it fits your agenda? Or was that just a typo? I doubt the latter.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Schmo

First we had birthers and now we have skeeters. We also have a lot of people who believe this president is a Muslim Marxist socialist who is gonna take all of our guns—with no evidence or reliable sources to support any of those assertions.

So what is it about this president that makes so many “real” ‘Muricans so suspicious of him? Why has this president been so scrutinized and doubted compared to the 43 presidents that came before him? Just what is so different about him?

Does anyone honestly think that if President Barack Hussein Obama Jr., was a white guy named Bill Henry O’Neill, Jr. whose father had been a white Canadian we would have any birthers or skeeters? Would anyone be demanding to see his birth certificate to prove he wasn’t really born in Saskatoon or Toronto? Would we have people accusing this president of faking a photo or being a Muslim or a Marxist under those circumstances? I think we all know the answer is “no” to these questions.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Funny this person writing this partisan speech uses the word purported photo, guess they need glasses unless they are one of them birthers who even after the birth certificate was supplied still insisted it was not real and still believed in their fantasy he was smuggled from Kenya and fooled everyone from US customs, FBI, IRS, CIA etc, and was still a illegal Kenyan for what purpose they cannot tell anyone other than its a conspiracy! Maybe the fellow who wrote this article just needs glasses!

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Ms Athens

“There is another one (photo) of his supposed real father and mother.”

Everything that you have ever posted regarding goofy conspiracies regarding the president has been debunked and now this? Pathetic.


“You leftists never fail to amuse me.”

You righties never fail to provide hours of laughs. Thanks again!

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Nice try:

He IS an expert -

Mr. Lightfoot - great comment! Great information. Thanks. Obama and everyone around him are such liars. There are dozens and dozens of lists of lies attributed to them that can be proven.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@doing research

A link to the Daily Kos? Oh now there's an non-biased source for you. What's next, a link to Media Matters?

You leftists never fail to amuse me.


Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Nice Try at Distracting From Gun Control

"I'm not going to turn this article into a gun rights debate." No, your goal is to call the President a liar.

Before doing so you should have consulted various experts - can the spray at the front of the gun be caused by difference in temperature, a result of dirt in barrel, does the camera's stop action possibly cause this, etc.?

Now, let's do get back to the real issue - gun control.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Liberal Lion

This isn't about whether Obama shoots skeet. It's about 29 dead kids in Connecticut. But then again, you conservative far, far right wingers never want to address the real issues- because you know you are on the wrong side of them. So why don't you go down with Arpaio and Steven Segal and do a photo op instead of solving the problem.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

Good article. Of course I immediately thought the photo was about as sincere as Sadaam Hussein’s photo op with little children on his lap after the very tepid and mild uproar by the U.S. press after he gassed thousands of Kurdish men, women and children. But then I found White House Communications Director Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted a photo on the 2nd of Feb the photo along with the Tweet,

“ Dan Pfeifferþ@pfeiffer44 For all the "skeeters": POTUS shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David on Aug. 4, 2012.”

Hey, I’ll give it the benefit of a doubt. I have no tin foil hat tendencies. I have to assume it’s a real photo until I read from Reuters on that same day, his birthday, as follows

“(Reuters) - President Barack Obama celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday with a round of golf, then helicoptered to the Camp David presidential retreat for a quiet evening off the campaign trail.

Obama, an avid golfer, played with colleagues and friends at the Andrews Air Force Base in hot, muggy weather conditions before taking Marine One to Maryland's Catoctin Mountains in the afternoon.

The White House did not release details of the president's evening plans or share the menu for the birthday meal he was expected to share with wife, Michelle.”

There is no mention of skeet shooting. An oversight? Maybe…NOT! An adoring media that solicits the finest detail down to the menu overlooked a skeet shooting photo op and story. Not in a million years, not with this President.

He didn’t mug it up with some gays when he came out for gay marriage. Why the hard push to convince gun owners he’s one of us? Why the deception?

All this subterfuge should make the American people very wary.

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