Anti-Gun Group Declares Victory Over Heitkamp: “She Got The Message”

Heidi Heitkamp

Over the weekend Senator Heidi Heitkamp made headlines when she called President Obama’s rumored gun control proposals “extreme.” That got the attention of the anti-gun left, who responded swiftly with an ad intending to shame Heitkamp into submission.

Heitkamp’s media flaks responded quickly, assuring the anti-gun folks that Heitkamp isn’t ruling out gun control. “The discussion and ultimate solution to these mass violence tragedies must go beyond a singular focus on gun laws, and that the discussion must examine mental health, school security, and community development to help parents identify and address children potentially suffering from mental illness,” Heitkamp said in a statement released in response to the ad. “Senator Heitkamp has clearly stated that all options must be on the table when it comes to addressing gun violence in America.”

The anti-gun folks at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, who ran the ad, liked what they heard from Heitkamp:

Chalk one up for the gun control crowd? A spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said Tuesday that his group had scared freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) off of her tough criticism of the White House gun violence task force.

The group ran newspaper ads on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. and North Dakota, two days after Heitkamp went on television to express serious concerns about gun control ideas the White House was reportedly considering in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school massacre. A spokesman for the group said the ads worked.

“She got the message,” Ladd Everitt, spokesperson for the CSGV, told TPM. He said the 48 hours since Heitkamp went on TV showcase a new, more aggressive tactic by gun control advocates to push politicians to back its agenda. …

Everitt said his group is “happy” with the statement, and that it proves the ads had an effect. “We liked it,” he told TPM. “We were happy to see more moderation there.”

Of course, Heitkamp herself is indignant at the idea that she’s caving to the anti-gun folks. “Senator Heitkamp’s position has not changed, nor shifted,” Heitkamp spokesperson Whitney Phillips told Talking Points Memo.

That might be more believable if someone could actually, you know, define what Heitkamp’s position is in 100 words or less. Senator Heitkamp is all over the map on this issue, which is what happens when you’re a far-left liberal who campaigned as a center-right candidate and now can’t quite figure out how to govern.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Janne Myrdal

    Trying to figure out how to govern is hard when u r mostly concerned with being liked and re elected.

    • Rob

      Well, it’s hard to govern when you were elected on a platform you don’t really believe in.

  • RCND

    Pressure works both ways. There is still more psi that will be coming down on her to not support gun control

    • Rob

      Yeah, but she has a lot of wiggle room. She doesn’t have to worry about reelection for about five years.

      • Wayne

        And people have short memories.

        • $8194357

          Just send the check is all that matters…

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    “Senator Heitkamp has clearly stated that all options must be on the table when it comes to addressing gun violence in America.”

    Gawd, what awful crap. “All options?” Like, oh, seizing guns and killing the owners? Arresting all schizophrenics?

    The rhetoric is meaningless, and the contempt for the intelligence of North Dakotans is obvious.

    • Rob

      Well “meaningless” is what she’s going for. She’s trying to craft a message that will appease both the pro-gun and anti-gun folks.

      It’s all about how it sounds, not what it means.

      • $8194357

        Worked for the three stooges for decades, huh…

  • Roy_Bean

    I think her problem is that Comrade Conrad didn’t tell her that the Garmin doesn’t work anymore. Dorgan figured it out first and didn’t run, Pomeroy figured it out the hard way and Conrad threw in the towel last year. Heidi is finding out what the other 3 already knew. The Forum no longer controls the news here like it once did and she is going to have to figure out who she wants to represent. The days of being a Washington liberal and a North Dakota conservative at the same time are gone.

  • Jonesy

    “Senator (fill in the blank) is all over the map on this issue, which is what happens when you’re a far-left liberal who campaigned as a center-right candidate and now can’t quite figure out how to govern.”
    Where is “Republican” Senator Hoeven on this issue now??

    • Rob

      He hasn’t said anything else since that Washington Journal show I posted about.

  • $8194357

    Typical politician…
    She was for it before she was against it and it will change with the political
    wind to pure leftist confiscation when the “time is right”.

  • sbark

    must be the new “North Dakota way” that comes with electing females that can just appease the radical left without remorse for what her state just might actually want.

  • Lynn Bergman

    Those who do not accurately represent their deep felt beliefs on important issues during election campaigns are either dishonest with their constituents… or dumb as a box of rocks and unsure of who they really are. Take your pick… either way, we got what we voted for. And guess what will be left of the farm program when she is up for re-election… crop insurance, maybe? Direct payments…gone in two months. You who voted for the government checks may get “government gun checks” instead. And you deserve it! Get a brain.

  • cylde

    As usual with democrats, N.Dak. gets political rhetorical posturing and the the party line gets the actual votes.