NRA Chief Says Group Accepts Background Checks - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

NRA Chief Says Group Accepts Background Checks

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The head of the National Rifle Association says the organization has no problem with tighter background checks of gun purchasers.

But association president David Keene also says too much emphasis has been placed on banning certain firearms.

In an interview on "CBS This Morning" Thursday, Keene argues, quote, "The real question that needs to be addressed is not what we do about guns, but what we do to make our schools safer."

The NRA has come under close scrutiny in the wake of Newtown, Conn., shootings that killed 20 children and six adults.

Keene said officials should focus more attention on a "devastatingly broken mental health system in this country," if they genuinely want to end gun violence.

He said the NRA has been "generally supportive" of stronger background checks. 

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he doesn't understand why anyone outside the military needs assault weapons or armor-piercing bullets.

During a visit with U.S. troops in northern Italy today, Panetta defended President Barack Obama's sweeping gun control package.

A soldier asked Panetta what steps the Obama administration was going to take to deal with attacks in schools that "don't have to do with tearing apart our Second Amendment."

The Pentagon chief responded that he believes in the Second Amendment and has been a longtime duck hunter.

Panetta, who's known for his often blunt and colorful language, added that things can be done to protect children "so that the nuts that are out there won't use these kinds of weapons to wipe them out."  (AP)

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