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NRA president speaks in Des Moines

The President of the National Rifle Association made a stop at the Iowa State Capitol Thursday.

While speaking with Republican lawmakers and NRA supporters, David Keene was critical of President Barack Obama and his administration’s plan for gun control reform. “Thank you for the common sense,” Keene said. “Not the kind of common sense the president talks about, but the common sense of the people in Iowa.”

The president’s plan called for tighter background checks and a ban on assault weapons. Obama was critical of the NRA after the U.S. Senate rejected the proposal, saying Keene and other “willingly lied” about what would the bill would do.

Keene disagreed, saying the government cannot strengthen prosecutions while enhancing a background check system. “What we’ve demonstrated in the last 30 years is that the government can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, so let’s see what they can do with the existing system before we even think about the other things,” Keene said.

Around a dozen protesters were on hand for Keene’s visit. One of those opponents was Rick Smith, who said an expansion of background checks are needed – and the American people backed the plan. “Ninety-percent of Americans, that includes Iowans, support background checks,” Smith said. “It was voted down last week. Senator Grassley voted against it. We think that’s a logical, common sense approach to reducing gun violence.”

Keene’s visit was sponsored by the Polk County Republican Party.