A TTAG reader writes: “I recently made a target image [above] with the President’s likeness. I was worried that I might be breaking the law. So I asked a couple of employees at the local gun store. “It’s a felony to shoot at a target in the likeness of a President of the U.S.,” they agreed. I called the Lake Havasu police station. They said ” It’s not against any Arizona law.” What about federal statutes? I called another gun shop. The owner said NO it’s not against the law—and gave me a phone number of his ATF guy. The ATF Agent assured me that the image didn’t violate any federal laws. Is that true?”

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115 Responses to Question of the Day: Is It Illegal to Shoot the President?

      • Yep, there’s a reason why many (most?) gun ranges ban those types of targets, whether they’re illegal or not.

    • I fail to see how this is any different than the armed rapist / robber targets. The difference is, Obama’s rape and theft will have much worse repercussions for your future.

      • Because it fantasizes the solving of indirect, nonviolent conflicts with personal and deadly discretion by one gun owner – ie not self defense, but straight up assassination. Its the kind of thing that gives gun owners and activists a bad name. Its also what a 5th grader would do to express their feelings.

        This is not in any way a comment about ones _right_ to shoot a picture of the president, which I can’t see as being illegal.

    • If I shoot a can of beer that doesn’t mean I’m going to attack the brewery, lighten the Eff up!

      • There’s a difference between shooting a target of an inanimate object and shooting a target of the president of the united states. I don’t mind shooting beer cans because they don’t disrespect or offend anyone. Shooting pictures of the president makes you indeed very poor in taste. Regardless of how much you may oppose him

        • Poor taste or not, that’s just an opinion… shoot at whatever you want. Shoot targets that have babies on them if you want to, even though that would be kinda weird.

    • Not in good taste??? Is it in good taste for a two-faced, lying, anti-American, white-hating racist, communist who REFUSES to even prove that he’s an American, who sides with every anti-American, anti-white, left-wing nutbag organization run OUR country??? He shows NO RESPECT to the rule of law, governmental procedure or THE CONSTITUTUION. NO president has EVER lied like this scumbag! Is it in poor taste for the president and Attny General of the United States to SUE IT’S OWN CITIZENS on behalf of a bunch of foreign, criminal, parasite, invaders (aka WETBACKS) who are CLEARLY violating federal law? Is it in good taste for the president, Attny. General and DAMN NEAR every member of congress and the senate to VIOLATE their oath of office to DEFEND and PROTECT the U.S.A it’s citizens and the constitution??? And all you’re worried about is if it’s in bad taste to use their image as a target!! It’s idiots like you that allow sh*t like this to happen in the first place, with your “it’s not MY place to do anything about it, or question the government” mentality. In bad taste?? KIss my fu*#ing ass!!!

    • Agreed. Making ANY President a target is distasteful. ANY President. No matter how much you dislike him. And it makes all gun owners look like the raving, mad idiots the anti-gunners already think we are. Why give them ammunition and inspiration to make sure they find a way to disarm us. Idiotic to the Nth degree.

    • “How badly do you want to have a conversation with the Secret Service?”

      Bad enough to advertise it on the internet, apparently.

      I agree with the above, it’s just a bad idea, legal or not.

        • I agree with Anon, you sir are the interwebs champion of the world, heavy weight division for the week in my judgement.

    • Hopefully, they will not mistake you for a prostitute; unless, that is what you were going for? But then, you won’t get paid.

  1. on a related/unrelated note. i went to a range in salt rock west virginia to shoot. i had to wait until a national gaurd unit cleared from the range. after they left i inspected stacks of targets they were using to qualify. they were campaign posters of then governor jay rockerfella and his wife sharon. the gaurd were good shots and sharons rack was perforated along with jays face. cost effective to use those old posters to qualify with.

  2. Don’t give “them” an issue to go ballistic about. Since the Dems don’t have anything positive to say, they’re just looking for anything provocative to focus on.

  3. First Amendment, symbolic speech and all that, is heavily protected. Which is why it’s legal to hang politicians in effigy — which seemed to happen to W’s likeness at every lefty rally I can remember — but it’s nonetheless Bozo the Clown stupid.

  4. Hate him all you want, but he IS the President of the United States. Show some respect for your own goddamn country.

    • Ah, yes. “Respect the office, if you don’t respect the man.” Problem is, there’s a man serving in that office. And that man has not done much to help my country.

      • I would never disrespect the Great Seal of The President of The United States, because that symbolizes the office/position of the President. I’m sorry, but I can not respect the man in that office today.

        GHW Bush was treated with much less respect by the left when he was in office, and for them nothing was off-limits or over-the-line.

        • It was wrong then, it remains wrong today.

          People can shoot those targets and look like the trashy yokel at the range though. I’m just going to dismiss anything they say.

    • Personally, I have little respect left for a country that would elect Bush or Obama to the most powerful and potentially destructive political office in human history. But even if I did, that is a completely separate matter from respecting the Presidency (I don’t) or the President (I don’t). The Imperial Presidency is not some deified super human institution we have to grovel before like some kind of golden effing calf. Respect is something that has to be earned. It’s been a long time since The Presidency has been occupied by someone worthy of respect. Regardless of whether Obushma or Obamney wins this November, that will still be the case.

      I say perforate presidential images to your hearts content if only for cathartic reasons, just don’t be foolish enough to broadcast it too widely.

      • +1 million

        I hate people that worship the Presidency and think we should all kneel before it and kiss the Presidents feet.

    • Ill show respect for the suckers when they stop licking the boots of the bankers and corporate interests.

    • Once the president himself starts respecting the country, maybe I’ll respect him. I’m not holding my breath.

      The president does not symbolize the USA. The Constitution does. That is what I respect.

    • I’m sorry, why does a wannabe tyrant who ignores the Constitution and commits crimes against every citizen of this country deserve a single ounce of respect? You respect the PERSON based off their actions, not the job title.

  5. “It’s not wise to upset a wookie”…. oops, errr…. The Prez and his guardians. (who incidentally are sworn to protect the our monetary system even above the life of Mr. Prez. no matter who that might be.)

    Doesn’t matter what I think of the prez, I still respect the position. It’s grounds enough to be investigated/harassed/treated like a terrorist in the name of “you might be practicing to attempt to do the real thing.”

  6. It’s legal, but I can’t imagine a target with anybody’s actual likeness on it instead of just a silhouette being a good idea at all.

  7. Sounds like the kind of thing where it would probably be found to fall under free speech…several months after he had already been arrested, charged with making threats against the President, and erroded his entire life savings to cover legal expenses.

  8. if you find yourself in a DGU with someone who looks like they might be Obama’s son , then this target of your creation will hurt you at trial.

  9. RF I have to say this…I am going to bestow on you the “Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day” award.

    There are some things that can not be spoken about.

    • Yea, just for posting this picture Rob probably just earned every TTAG reader a personal visit from the SS.

      On a side note, does anyone else find it disturbing that the President’s personal henchmen use the same designation as Hitlers henchmen?

      • Not really? Since the Secret Service don’t call themselves the SS and all. Their abbreviation is the USSS.

        Not a whole lot in common with the Schutzstaffel considering they were founded in 1923 and the United State Secret Service was founded as a division of the Treasury dept in 1865.

  10. To the original poster:

    When you get a knock on the door from the secret service, PLEASE do not claim membership in the shooting community. WTF is wrong with you!? Aren’t things bad enough for our 2nd Amendment rights without a J.O. creating serious negative press? I would not lift a finger (well maybe 1) to help you if you were stripped of the right to own so much as a paintball gun. You deserve some serious punishment for this, if for nothing else than creating a s*** storm for the rest of us to deal with.
    What a dope!

    • Punishment? No. Bottom line, he’s putting holes through paper. Illegal? No. Dumb choice of a target? Yes sir.

  11. A friend and I took some Obama targets to the range one day. We each got about 10 shots into our respective Obama targets, when one of the workers told us we needed to stop doing that. We immediately took them down and put up normal targets. We also politely asked why we shouldn’t do it. He said someone had complained. I don’t think that was true and that that it was an excessive Political Correctness thing, but we didn’t say that to the worker. When we were finished shooting we discussed it a little more with the worker. Turns out they have a policy against targets with any “real people” faces on them. We very politely let him know that we disagreed with that policy, but we would not violate it again, and we left. Everyone is still friends, but we’re all a little annoyed.

    It was fun while it lasted. I also think we made a small statement about Political Correctness, free speech, and our current President. We “tweaked the noses” of a few liberals, and that is why we did it.

    Both of us returned to the same range several more times, but without real people targets. I still disagree with that policy, but as range rules go, that one is not too hard to live with.

    • doing something just to piss someone off is on par with a pouting teenager dressing like marilyn manson to rebel against society. so congrats on being a sixteen-year-old girl.

  12. Absolutely, positively, without a doubt unquestionably a VERY stupid thing to do, to say the very least.

    You “tweaked the nose of a few liberals” by behaving like an absolute idiot?

    No, thanks, if you are a “conservative” let’s just say with friends like you, conservatives don’t need enemies.

    • I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to do that, that month. That was why they range already had a well established policy about it.

      To paraphrase the great folk singer, Arlo Guthrie,
      “If one person does it, they might just put you away for being crazy. If two or three people do it, they might begin to wonder what’s going on. But if a lot of people start doing it, they might begin to think it’s a movement. A Movement. And if thousands of people are doing it, then they will know that it is the great Remove Obama Movement. So next time you’re at your gun range, put a few holes into Obama. Do it for the Movement – The great nationwide Remove Obama Movement”

  13. So according to some here, not only should one not make targets depicting certain people, but one should also not talk about the wisdom of creating said targets? And if it is spoken about then punishment is deserved? For exercising 1A?

    WTF? Who armed the sheep?

    • Look, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Anti 2A people will cling to anything they can to show us in a negative light, why do you want to oblige them with a stupid target idea like that? Get one of those zombie targets and have fun at the range, leave politics out of it.

      And besides, save the gun range owner a headache, too.

      • Oh, I think I agree with you, Mr. Pierogie. Not saying shooting at pics of the prez is a prudent thing to do. I was primarily ranting against those that thought the mere discussion of the topic was a punishible offense.

        There are many things spoken or expressed that I may vehemently disagree with, but it is our right to vehemently disagree. I just find it hard to tolerate small minds that wish to take that right away from anyone.

        As for the anti-2A folks, they’ll find anything, real or imagined, to malign gun rights.

        • I know. Although to be fair, the vast majority of people here are simply saying that shooting a target with the president’s face is a dumb thing to do, not that he does not have the right to do it. But no matter how tacky his idea may be, he’s not harming anybody else so any calls for this guy to be punished have no merit. After all he’s just shooting paper. It does not follow that he wants to harm the POTUS.

    • No, according to most people with half a functioning brain, you do not make targets out of the head of the US President.

      But, again, your comment once more demonstrates that there is no cure for stupid.

  14. The question you SHOULD be asking yourself is:

    Is this in poor taste?

    The answer is yes. God knows I have no love for the President. But good God, man. Have some decency.

  15. Illegal, probably not. It might get you a visit from an inquisitive Secret Service agent, if you take this someplace public. And there’s no doubt it’s in very very poor taste.

    And that comes for a Republican who wouldn’t vote for the guy on a bet. Not that many of them have guns, but would it be OK with Reagan in the bullseye?

  16. This is getting ridiculous. Guy’s, remember Kennedy? Reagan? Presidents killed or wounded by guns used in assasination attempts? Not cool events, were they? Dark days in American history, no? Look what they got us! Most notably for the crowd here, it got us the Brady Bunch (through the attempt on Reagan). Remember?? So what? It’s just a paper target, right? I say, don’t set a very bad and irresponsible precedence by acting like a laxed mentality towards “offing” the President (even on paper) is ok, no matter how much you dislike the current president or his party. It hurts our rights as gun owners. It hurts the spirit of our already declining American nationalism. Period. If we Americans act with such disregard and disrespect, where does that leave our rights or our country? In a downward spiral. That’s where. I’m not saying Obama earned all of y’alls respect with his presidency/actions, I’m saying that out of BASIC respect for your country you just don’t do stupid sh!t like this. It’s just bad on so many levels…several reasons I skipped covering here. Those other reasons come out of basic issues around moral integrity and character. You either have it, or based upon some responses here…don’t.

    • The Gun Control Act of 1968 is a result of the assassinations of King and another Kennedy. Making targets like that falls into the category of “You’re allowed to, just as you’re allowed to run full tilt into a brick wall.”

    • Well said. I was never fan of GWB, but I never would have dreamed of putting up targets at the range. If gun owners want gun rights to be something above the stereotypical political affiliations of Republican/Democrat or conservative/liberal they need to exercise some restraint.

      To be 100% honest: if I saw someone put up targets of ANY recognizable person, especially a politician, you can bet I’m going to discreetly report it to the range officer. The last thing all of us legal gun owners need is another crazy person ruining gun owners’ rights with threats against our politicians.

  17. I guess this falls back on my old standby: If we didn’t have freedom of speech, we wouldn’t be able to tell the dumbasses from the rest of us.

    Don’t be surprised if a well dressed, well spoken, very fit young man or two knocks at your door and shows you a badge and asks you a few questions if you shoot at a target like this one anywhere public.

    You may despise the man as the President, but you should still respect the office he holds. Wishing someone is dead is generally considered poor form.

  18. While stationed in DC with the MP’s, we had occassion to work with the SS. This very subject was brought up. Under their rules and regs it is very much a no no, to do this. This is viewed as an assault upon the C in C. Any one who would do this for “…practice…” is viewed as a possible threat, placed on their watch list and, you also get to see the inside of a Secret Service building.

    Once they have talked to you, they then go to your place of employment, talk with your employer, your co-workers, your pastor, the people you know at church, they also go to your childrens school and speak with their teachers. Now do you really want all that hassle? Plus being on the unemployment line?

    DON’T BE STUPID. Vote the SOB out of office. Get rid of the legislators at the ballot box. Once that is done then work to get laws rescinded.

  19. Wow, lots of people here eager to appease their gun-grabbing enemies, political rivals, and show “decency” toward one of the greatest enemies of not just the 2A, but the entire Constitution. I’ve never shot at a presidential silhouette or a silhouette of any person alive or dead, but I certainly don’t think such a practice should be banned. It’s not my cup of tea but, as we like to say around here, one person’s opinion should not make policy.

    Shooting a silhouette of Obama or anyone else is “stupid” because the SS has made it stupid through 1A oppression. Does me shooting a silhouette of an armed thug mean I plan to go mugger-hunting a la Death Wish? Does shooting a zombie mean I’m seriously planning for a zombie apocalypse? Why can’t targets just be cathartic or symbolic? So burning an effigy as symbolism is ok, but putting holes in a piece of paper isn’t?

    If you think it’s stupid (and perhaps it is, if only because the thugs in power have made it so) then that’s your choice, but shame on anyone who thinks this should not be allowed, especially for reasons of “decency.” Every American’s birthright to disrespect and display opposition to government is precious, and trying to appease pre-existing enemies of the Constitution (progressives) is cowardice in the highest form.

  20. You vote. You don’t always win.

    Doesn’t mean you have to be a sore loser. We live in a country of some 300-400 million people. If you think every decision is going to be the one YOU would make, then step up to the plate and run for political office.

    I take my hat off when the national anthem plays before sporting events. I proudly hang the flag. I don’t like a lot of social programs. I don’t like the laws restricting 2A. But shoot the President?

    • It’s not the President, it’s a piece of paper with his face on it…HUGE difference!!! Quit being a PC candy–.

    • If you think every decision is going to be the one YOU would make, then step up to the plate and run for political office.

      Except you have to have millions of dollars in your bank account before you can do this. Then you need to get millions more in donations and perform a lot of oral sex on members of the RNC / DNC (your preference) to get them to promote you as THE savior of your people. Basically, our whole election system is a scam.

      I take my hat off when the national anthem plays before sporting events. I proudly hang the flag.
      I don’t. My family survived being hunted by the Nazis and watched many of their friends be murdered by the Nazis. I will never worship a government because I know what it leads to.

      I find it funny that so many people are aghast at the idea of using violence as a means to an end when that’s exactly how our country was founded.

  21. To paraphrase another common phrase,
    No “real people” were harmed in the production of those bullet holes.

    Nobody was hurt and we had a little extra fun at the range that night. When we left, we were still friends with the range worker, maybe better, because we actually had a small, friendly, and respectful conversation.

    Everyone who knows me knows that actually shooting any public figure is the last thing on my mind. I may make a quick joke to that effect when I see them do something particularly annoying on TV, but ACTUALLY shoot them? Never in a million years.

    Joke ON
    Besides, can you imagine how bad Joe Biden would be as President?
    Joke OFF

    • Joke ON
      Is that why Obama selected Biden for his VP – as life insurance? The same thing worked pretty well for Bill Clinton, didn’t it?
      Joke OFF

      Some of you have a problem differentiating my humor from seriousness. So until you figure it out, I’ll tell you when I’m joking.

  22. The people that I hate the most in the world, people who I would like to see die. I still wouldn’t shoot a target with their picture on it.

    I’m sorry it is just stupid and moronic. If you guys think you have an inept leader take a look at Australia. Still you don’t see me shooting at PM Julia Gillard’s picture.

    Why? Because its just stupid and you likely have problems if you want to shoot at a target with someone’s face on it. I just don’t get the rationale.

    At best you are making a statement that you don’t like that person but if you were serious about getting rid of Obama you would be helping your guy’s campaign and trying to win votes with facts rather than acting like a wanker and coming across as slightly deranged.

    I don’t think you shouldn’t be allowed to do it, I just think anyone who does needs to give themselves an uppercut.

    • Still you don’t see me shooting at PM Julia Gillard’s picture.

      Yes, but you’ll also be drawn and quartered for posting a picture on Facebook of you holding a legal firearm in Australia, so it’s not like you’re refusing to do it out of moral superiority – you’d be tossed in jail faster than you can say “G’day!” if you tried it.

      I don’t think you shouldn’t be allowed to do it, I just think anyone who does needs to give themselves an uppercut.

      Right, the whole “You should be allowed to do it, just no one should ever do it because only my choices are valid” argument. God I’m glad I don’t live in Australia.

  23. As a member of the Armed Services…I wouldn’t allow a photo of me shooting this target to make in onto the internet…(Facebook)
    BUT and an American…I agree completely.

  24. The first sentence;
    (TTAG reader writes: “I recently made a target image [above] with the President’s likeness. I was worried that I might be breaking the law)
    the guy DIDN’T shoot the targer he Questioned he MIGHT be breaking the Law.
    Then he asked for RELIABLE information on the Idea.
    Given mixed information from several reliable sources, he came here for some information on “Is this a felony”
    Every one so far has critized his actions like he filled the target with numerous rounds, but NO ONE has answred the ligitamate QUESTION he asked.

    He hasn’t broken any law by printing a target, he hasn’t shot it. He just asked for US, we the knowing group to answer a simple question, is there a law against
    shooting an efergy/ picture of the person in the Presidency.

    • I don’t think it’s illegal, but it might be interpreted by the Secret Service as a possible threat against the President, which is illegal. This generally results in an interview of you and various other people (such as your employer) to determine if you’re a nut, or just an a-hole.

      I don’t know how often employers decide they don’t want a nutty a-hole working for them as a result of these interviews.

  25. Arguing with liberals pretty much just proves that they cant handle logic and reality! I will agree that its probably not the best idea to put our nations commander in chief but telling the ones who do it that they are stupid or doing something that they themselves dont agree with is pretty much saying that our right to free speech and everything that this nation was built on is every bit as much of a joke as the president himself is!

  26. AS I said earlier…

    You could get a visit from the USSS with some very irritating and detaining ways for such a thing.

    Should it be legal? Using 1A, as flag burning has? Yes. Is it bad taste? Yes, just as flag burning can be. Would I do it? No. Should anyone else? Entirely up to them, and their willingness to deal with a gov bent on eradicating terrorists within as well as outside our Country. (who even on mere suspicion without solid evidence will make life miserable for them.)

    It’s easier on you if you get all your friends, family, and co-workers to oust the Prez in all legal manner, starting with the ballot box while praying the lyrics to a song don’t hold true. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” (The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again.)

  27. The people who would think about doing this are just very immature and people who I clearly believe should not own guns. Whether you support Obama or not he is the president. Not to mention who has no life and would waste their time and others calling around to ask the silly question of this being legal or not…

  28. I never thought it a good idea to invite ‘the man’ into my life.

    YMMV.

    Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it. This seems to slide quite nicely into that category.

  29. If it is my property, with a safe back stop, outside the gun free zone of the populated area, I can use any likeness I wish to shoot at. At public ranges, why stir chit?

  30. If you’re worried about breaking any laws by shooting a target, I think a better way, that more people would see is to get urinal screens printed up with his photo – like the one’s everyone had with Bin Ladens picture on them….

  31. I find the fear behind the “bad idea” comments very interesting. I also find it odd that anyone raised in the US would have to ask if exercising their First Amendment Rights is right or wrong (legal or illegal)–the person who reminded folks here that this happened with Bush and absolutely no one cared was correct.
    Further, it is not merely a 1st Amendment issue it is also a 4th Amendment (due process) issue and a 5th Amendment issue as well.
    One of the reasons the Left has gotten as far as they have is that:
    a. The ordinary citizen fears the Government.
    b. The ordinary citizen has been “educated” to treat certain members of our society with less respect (the persons above expressing their 1st Amend. RIGHT) and in the same breath treat other members of society with deferential treatment usually reserved for the pope or the king.
    c. And most importantly Americans have been “educated” to put certain individuals (notice it is not an everyone issue) who, we are taught, deserve special treatment over and above the average citizen.

    At best these left-related results of 40-50 years of incessant left wing propaganda are absolutely un-American and foolish—to allow ourselves to be dictated to about which of our Freedoms we can and cannot express is a violation of our most sacred Rights as a free people and as Americans.

    “Patriotism is an affair of deeds, and patriotic words are good only in so far as they result in deeds. . . . Patriotism means service to the nation; and only those who render such service are fit to enjoy the privilege of citizenship.”

    – T.Roosevelt speech in Lincoln, Nebraska on 14 June 1917

  32. THANK YOU DR. G!!! Glad to hear SOMEBODY has some common fu*#ing sense. The rest of you spineless cowards can KISS MY ASS. As for me….. I’ll be at the range with my FAVORITE targets!

  33. The title of this article is misleading. It should read “Is it illegal to shoot a likeness of the president?” Get with the program.

  34. You bunch of pc punks make me sick.
    When this treasonous cockroach starts respecting the people and the nation he swore to defend, then maybe I’ll show hima some respect. Until then Barack Obama and His ass licking money grubbing toadies can eat s*@t and bark at the moon. Further more if the ss wants to pay me a visit thier welcome to do so, I’ve said nothing here that I would’nt repeat. In a court of law or god willing to Obama’s face.
    you fruits probably think the 2a was so you would have the right to hunt rabbits and such.

  35. It may not be illegal and it is in poor taste but beyond that, only a total mental case would find any need to use a human likeness for a shooting target other than police silhouette targets that are solid black to better show shot patterns. What have we come too when we learn that kind of hatred over f—ing political differences. I just wonder if the religious right find this exceptable.

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