Skeet-Gate: Some Constructive Advice for the President
We here at NSSF were somewhat bemused over the controversy that sprang from President Obama's assertion that he shot skeet on a regular basis, and the second wave of commentary that attended the White House release of a photo to prove it. There's a reason we're citing the New York Times coverage in the link above — we’ll get to that later.
The assertion came as no surprise to us, because NSSF sponsored and oversaw the renovation of the skeet field at Camp David. We provided one of the industry's top facilities consultants, and donated tens of thousands of dollars of machinery, consulting and oversight to build the regulation field. We provided countless hours of shotgun and safety instruction as well. We were honored to provide this service for the office of the Presidency, and our investment appears to be paying off by recruiting new shooters. Welcome, Mr. President.
In the same vein, we can offer the president some constructive advice on his shooting. Mr. President, try leaning a little further forward into the shot to better manage recoil. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart, and put more weight on your leading foot. You appear to be shooting a gun with "neutral cast," to wit, a straight stock. Since you're shooting left-handed, you may want to look into a different stock cast to better accommodate you. And if you’re going to get a custom gun, make sure they measure your length of pull first. Proper gun fit makes an enormous difference in accuracy, and thus in your enjoyment of the sport.
You may also want to try out the semiautomatic shotguns that another one of our member companies donated to Camp David. These too come in left-handed versions, which eject the spent casing to your left, instead of to the right as is customary. No matter which way the case ejects when you shoot the semiautomatic, you'll notice that the gun still only shoots one round per pull of the trigger, just like the over/under you're shooting in the picture.
In fact, the semiautomatic shotguns are functionally identical to all the semiautomatic firearms that Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed to ban in her sweeping new legislation, S. 150. We feel like we have to keep repeating that fact, because many of the media voices that consider themselves learned scholars on gun policy don't even know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun, for heaven's sake. Note that The New York Times article has a correction at the bottom of the page, because it originally said that you were shooting a rifle in the picture — a mistake quickly repeated by dozens of other media outlets. Many of these same media outlets have been quick to editorialize about which guns Americans should and should not be allowed to own, when apparently they wouldn't know a rifle or a shotgun from a barn door. Go figure.
You're wearing both eye and ear protection, which are required, but a shooting vest and some custom earplugs might make you more comfortable – those earmuffs can get clammy on a hot day. Finally, a note to the photographer: It's better policy to stand directly behind the shooter on any active range, because it's safer and besides, you can see (and snap, if you're quick) whether he hit the target.
Gun owners, by the way, have only a few short weeks before we see whether the Congress puts a target on our Second Amendment rights. We urge you and all our elected lawmakers to know your target, which is the criminal misuse of firearms, not arbitrary limits on which guns and magazines law-abiding citizens can legally purchase. Don't aim the gun of heavy-handed restrictions and regulations at anything you're not willing to destroy, including the hundreds of thousands of jobs our industry provides. Did you know that new restrictions on gun and ammunition purchases will also damage wildlife conservation programs? That's because our nation's federal conservation grants are funded primarily by the excise taxes on gun and ammo sales.
So the outcome of this pending legislative debate is very important. And believe me, we're watching that even more closely than the pictures of you shooting a shotgun at Camp David.