By Talia Kaplan
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) - The president of the National Rifle Association is in town and he's outraged over the recent push for tougher gun laws.
David Keene has different solutions for stopping gun violence in the St. Louis area and keeping students safe in schools.
NewsChannel 5 caught up with him before he spoke to the Metro East Pachyderm Club. Keene says the night was all about protecting the second amendment: the right to keep and bear arms.
We asked how he would address the chronic gun violence problem in cities like St. Louis and East St. Louis.
"If you want to deal with gun crimes with violence in the cities you have to go after the gangs. You have to go after these people and you have to put them away and if you do that you have some impact and if you don't do that you don't have the impact," said Keene.
When asked if he thinks guns have anything to do with violence he said, "You know what weapon is most used for committing murders in the United States in the last year, hammers, not guns hammers. Longarms the AK47s the so-called assault weapons more people are beaten to death every year than are killed by those guns. It's the person who commits the murder that's the problem not the tool not the weapon that he uses for that purpose."
According to the 2011 FBI crime statistics, the most recent available, there were more firearm homicides than hammer homicides.
Melissa Brooks a co-leader of the St. Louis chapter of the group "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America" disagrees with Keene's stance.
On Saturday the group organized a rally downtown demanding changes to gun laws.
"Hammers may very well be a problem but I think someone's chances of surviving an attack with a hammer versus an AR15 are much greater and guns are a huge problem in St. Louis and in Missouri and it needs to be addressed," said Brooks.
She says the start of the solution is expanding background checks.