President Obama on Wednesday cast expanded background checks — the core of a bill the Senate is set to begin debating next week — as a common-sense approach that would make gun violence less common.

“If you want to buy a gun…you should at least have to show you’re not a criminal,” he said in an address at the Denver Police Academy, where he stood before several dozen police officers. “That’s just common sense.

“If you’re selling a gun, wouldn’t you want to know who you are selling it to?” he added in an address just a few miles from the Aurora, Colo., movie theater where 12 people were killed last summer by a lone gunman.

Obama blasted the National Rifle Association for opposing expanded background checks, which the group has said is the first step toward a national gun registry.