Amid conservative anger over Mr Obama’s proposals to ban assault weapons as part of a drastic overhaul of US gun control laws, the president said that he was a keen clay-pigeon shooter.
Asked in a magazine interview whether he had ever fired a gun, Mr Obama said he did so with guests at the president’s rural retreat.
“Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” he said. “And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.
“And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake”.
Mr Obama’s plans for tighter firearms regulations were drawn up by Joe Biden, his vice-president, following the massacre of 26 people, including 20 young pupils at a primary school in Connecticut last month.