Obama: Gun-Control Advocates Have To Listen More

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National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America during a news conference at the Willard Hotel on Dec. 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America during a news conference at the Willard Hotel on Dec. 21, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says gun-control advocates should be better listeners in the debate over firearms in America.

In an interview with The New Republic, Obama says he has “a profound respect” for the tradition of hunting that dates back for generations.

“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,” he says.

Obama has called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and is pushing other policies following the mass shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. In response, gun-rights advocates have accused Obama and others of ignoring the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

The president says it’s understandable that people are protective of their family traditions when it comes to hunting.

“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,” he says.

Has Obama himself ever fired a gun?

“Yes,” the president says, “in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.”

His daughters don’t shoot skeet at the presidential retreat in Maryland, he adds, “but oftentimes guests of mine go up there.”

The interview appears in the Feb. 11 issue of The New Republic.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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