13 Photos of Presidents Packing Heat

From Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama, the buckshot stops here.


When they’re not coming for yours, presidents love their guns. Below, photos of modern presidents enjoying their right to bear arms. (And scroll down for some bonus shots featuring Eleanor Roosevelt, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden.)

A young Theodore Roosevelt, back when being into fringey gun stuff meant something entirely different, 1885.

Then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt takes some shots on a Marine Corps rifle range, 1919. (FDR is the second prone fellow in a boater.)

The buckshot stops here. President Harry S. Truman sights a shotgun, 1948.

Then-Senator Truman shows off a pair of pistols once owned by Jesse James to Vice President John Nance Garner, 1938. (According to the Library of Congress, “Senator Truman secured the guns in Southern Missouri from a doctor’s wife, whose husband received them in payment of medical services rendered Frank James, another of the James’ boys.”)

General Dwight D. Eisenhower squeezes off some rounds with wartime colleagues Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Omar Bradley, 1945. As president, Eisenhower installed a skeet shooting range at Camp David.

Eisenhower and Churchill

Keystone Pictures USA/ZUMA Press

President John F. Kennedy shoots skeet at Camp David, 1963. Watching him on the right are David Niven, Ben Bradlee, and Hjördis Paulina Tersmeden, Niven’s wife. (Jackie Kennedy is likely on the bench. Watch a brief clip of her shooting skeet here.)

President John F. Kennedy inspects an M15 rifle (and a crossbow) in the Oval Office, 1961.

JFK

JFK Collection/ZUMA Press

President Gerald R. Ford receives a musket as a gift during a trip to Texas, 1976.

President Jimmy Carter (kneeling) shooting with kids in Plains, Georgia, 1978.

Jimmy Carter

Arthur Grace/ZUMA Press

Former President Ronald Reagan accepts a Colt Sporter AR15 from the American Shooting Sports Council at his ranch in California, 1992. “This much was obvious—Ronald Reagan loves shooting and loves people,” ACCS’s executive director wrote (PDF) about the day. “The anti-gunners may have thought they co-opted our pro-gun former president for their exclusive use. No way! He believes in our industry, he believes in our products, and he shares our views about individual responsibility, accountability and personal freedom.” (Bold in original.)

Ronald Reagan

American Shooting Sports Council

President George H.W. Bush hunting in Texas, 1992.

President Obama goes on a fun-filled shooting spree at Camp David, 2011.

The photo that ended Skeetgate (maybe): The president shoots clay targets at Camp David, 2012.

Plus: A few photos of not-quite-presidents that are too good to not include.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt takes aim at Chazy Lake, New York, 1934. Below, she checks her aim with her friend Nancy Cook.

Vice President Joe Biden shoots to thrill, 2011.

Years before his famous hunting accident, future Vice President Dick Cheney visits the shooting gallery at the Texas State Fair, 1976.

Finally: He’ll never get close to the White House, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives it his best shot, 2012.

Rick Perry

Stephen Morton/ZUMA Press

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