President Barack Obama says gun-control advocates have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes in the debate over firearms in America.

President Barack Obama speaks after being sworn in during the presidential inauguration (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Obama tells The New Republic that he has a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that date back for generations.

He also says that moving forward on the topic means understanding that the realities of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas.

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, he says, he and others shoot skeet frequently at the president's Maryland retreat, Camp David.ot

Not Sure He'd Let A Son Play Football

"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football," President Barack Obama tells The New Republic.

"And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence," Obama said. "In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much."

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


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