Republican Ralph Watts made the comments at an event in Urbandale at the weekend saying that the only way to avoid gay slurs is not to speak about gay people at all. Watts was asked by a constituent about his former Democratic challenger Bryce Smith, and why he had referred to him as “red rider”. And he claims he did not know it was a homophobic slur. Speaking to the Des Moines Register last month, Watts says: “Red Ryder BB gun is the thing that falls in the category of a kid’s first gun, and it’s used to teach kids how to use a weapon and shows them responsibility and shows they’re capable of using something more powerful. With some of the things that have happened, the constant sniping and constant obscure criticism shows me that he hasn’t progressed past the Red Ryder stage. … I hadn’t heard about the slur until he brought it up.” LGBT groups considered it an offence and even though he did not mean it, they insist he should apologize to people he hurt.