Heidi Heitkamp Dodging Questions About Gun Control

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Earlier this week, with the Connecticut school shooting in the headlines, Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp couldn’t be reached by the North Dakota media asking questions about gun control.

During an appearance on PBS, however, Heitkamp couldn’t dodge the question. The interviewer had to ask it of her twice, Heitkamp’s first deflected the question with an answer focusing on mental health, but he did get an answer eventually. And it was about as clear as mud.

Watch Sen.-Elect Heidi Heitkamp on Gun Control, Keystone Pipeline on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

A transcript:

JEFFREY BROWN: Now, it looks as though one of the first things you might face in office is what to do in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings. You come from a strong Second Amendment state. You yourself received an A-rating from the NRA, but you spoke the other day of possible changes to our gun laws.

What changes specifically can you support now?

HEIDI HEITKAMP: Well, I think we have to step back from all of this discussion and start really trying to examine what happened in Connecticut and why it happened in Connecticut.

I also am a very staunch proponent of looking at our mental health system in this country and start addressing those concerns as well. During the time that I was attorney general was also the time of Columbine. There were a number of school shootings.

I served as a chair of a committee that we pulled together within the National Association of Attorneys General to begin to discuss what we could change. And so I’m not willing to just throw out one solution against other solutions.

I think we need to understand this culture. I think we need to understand what happened in this specific decision that this young man made to do one of the most horrific things that can be done in America, and how we’re going to prevent that in the future.

And so I’m about results, actually things that matter and things that can change the dynamic. And that needs to be everything. We need to talk not only about gun laws and what needs to be examined there, but we also need to look at mental health, school security, community development that will provide some — hopefully some hope and help with parents with children who are struggling with mental illness.

JEFFREY BROWN: All right, but accepting that there can be many things on the table, I still do want to ask you again, though, about the gun control part of it.

I just wonder, from a state like yours, what could constituents accept? There’s talk of, of course, a ban on assault weapons, of certain kinds of magazines. How far would you be willing to carry that conversation right now?

HEIDI HEITKAMP: I think people in North Dakota want to make sure that we do everything in the aftermath of this disaster to prevent it from happening again.

Obviously, we’re a strong Second Amendment state. We believe — the interesting thing about North Dakota, we have the highest rate of gun ownership in the country and the lowest rate of gun violence in the country. And so we understand and we appreciate the concerns that people have that we need to begin to address.

But I think all of this talk really is putting the cart before the horse, when we haven’t had the discussion about what it is that has created this circumstance. And I spent a lot of years working in law enforcement. And let me tell you, my approach to problems is that you examine what exactly happened before you begin to fashion some kind of solution to prevent it.

Remember that, during he campaign, the NRA expressed doubts about Heitkamp’s record on gun control.

North Dakota is, most definitely, a pro-gun state and Heitkamp has to walk a careful line on the issue. But the fact that she even has to walk that line is telling. Someone who truly believes in the 2nd amendment, who truly believes that crime is the result of human behavior and not the existence of inanimate objects, wouldn’t have to walk that line at all.

This will be a tough issue for Heitkamp. During the campaign for the Senate she was able to skirt any careful scrutiny of her politics by keeping up an incessant and nasty campaign of personal attacks on her opponent Rick Berg. But Berg is out of the picture now, and Heitkamp’s record will speak for itself.

And it’s going to be a record, I think, where she’ll vote as far-left as she believes she can get away with up to and including on gun issues.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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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  • Roy_Bean

    “During an appearance on PBS, however, Heitkamp couldn’t dodge the question. The interviewer had to ask it of her twice, Heitkamp’s fi but he did get an answer eventually. Which was about as clear as mud.”

    The garmin candidate is about to become the garmin senator. These situations always confuse her because she was in North Dakota but talking to a Washington DC news program. She wants to be her liberal self but she still has to keep up the red state charade.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      That’s exactly the problem Heitkamp is going to have. She’s a far-left liberal who campaigned as a moderate Republican and now must find a way to balance the two.

      During the campaign she accomplished it with a nasty, offensive campaign against Rick Berg. Now, though, she’s in the spotlight all by herself.

  • spud

    Once she gets sworn in then has to cast votes she will have a public record. I am more concerned about this issue being dealt with in quick reaction time. Politicians are knee-jerk reactors in fact the next day they were already talking about introducing all kinds of bills to “help to solve and prevent what happened”. She sounded like she would like time to check every aspect of the situation out which could also be described as political doubletalk.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      But the voting record won’t tell the full story, will it?

      Yeah, she might vote the right way on specific bills, but what about her vote for the Majority Leader who sets the agenda in the Senate? What good is her single vote against a terrible gun control law if she helps support the party that pushes it through?

      • spud

        Well if she voted for Mitch McConnell that would garner headlines in the media. Reid is the leader don’t care for the man and he has never “led” on anything but he will be the leader. She has never served in a legislative body before. She was top of the totem poll as tax commissioner and attorney general. In the senate she will be at or near bottom in seniority.

        • spud

          I am not so sure there will be any gun control measure that will pass through congress there might be alot who want to push it but there will be alot of democrats who want to touch that issue at all.

      • 308T

        Exactly, if you hire someone to cut another persons throat you’re still guilty.

  • sbark

    PBS had the gall to ask her those questions when she is in full money raising mode, just after getting elected?………….her job as a liberal Senator isnt to serve the public or the majority in her home state right now, it is to get enough money put together to become permanently entrenched for decades.

    …She needs a war chest put together that can destroy any potential candidate running against her—to become part of the Ruling Class Elite is to have the money.

  • Lianne

    I like her comments about mental health issues. We need to pull treatment out of the dark ages with steps that bring help, peace and security to families dealing with mental illness as well as to the person afflicted with mental illness.
    BUT, unless I missed it, I never heard the word Constitution cross her lips. That is what was missing in her answer. She knows DC is listening to her.

  • Nimrod

    She will be just like Dorgan and Comrade; and vote with the state unless the vote is close, then she will vote with Harry Reid. Or that is what I got out of her PBS interview.

  • Thresherman

    Harry Reid has been busy lately and hasn’t told her what to say yet.

  • schreib

    ‘”Heidi, Heidi, Heidi Ho, how she will vote nobody knows.” Heidi, Heidi, Heidi who, how she will Have to vote, I’m sure Dirty Harry Knows.”

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Well Reid spent millions to get her elected.

      Obviously, he’s going to have some expectation of payback.

      • Guest

        I’m sure you would have thought about Rick Berg and Karl Rove.

      • WOOF

        Harry Reid protects gun rights.”Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Obamacare subsection titled “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights” makes it illegal for wellness and better-living programs to require “the disclosure or collection of any information relating to… the presence or storage of a lawfully-possessed firearm or ammunition

        • Jeremiah Glosenger

          Harry Reid has reversed his position on gun rights after the MSM made an emotional wreck of the country endlessly parading the massacre. Even some Republicans are waffling. It is getting scary.

  • Gunny Sarge

    Can’t wait to see that independent Voting streak. HA HA.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Don’t hold your breath.

  • sbark

    I see another young generational Dem’cat, an up and comer–Andrew Cuomo, Gov of New York, who probably speaks clearly for all the tongue tied Left wing politicians on this subject————has thrown out the “confiscation” word

    ………..In an interview, Mr. Cuomo did not offer specifics about the measures he might propose, but, while discussing assault weapons, he said: “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option – keep your gun but permit it.”

    Now maybe Heidi just needs to be on record flatly refuting any of that……unti she does, can we not presume she agrees with it fully?

    • 308T

      If it comes to that we’ll see how many gun owners have the guts to resist with justifiable force.

  • Lynn Bergman

    We have nothing to fear regardng gun control; Australia has shown the world what works and what doesn’t work. Spending $0.5 Billion in 1996 to replace semi-automatic rifles and pump action shotguns with single action long guns did nothing to reduce crime in the subsequent half decade. The attention given to mental illness identification and coordination by professionals in education, medicine, law enforcement and others WAS, however, eventually effective in reducing the mass shootings. But it took a decade of work that continues!

    Replacement of handguns under 4 inch barrel length (peashooters or “saturday night specials”) with longer barreled larger caliber handguns sharply reduced home and business invasions and associated crimes. Criminals commit far less crimes when they know almost every one has a lethal handgun available to them.

    Australia spent a lot of taxpayer money on ineffective gun replacement schemes; we should learn from their mistakes.
    School security will have to be increased for a decade until we get our society cured of its obsession with human on human violence; Hollywood… are you listening???

    • VocalYokel

      “…we should learn from their mistakes.”

      A wise man (my Dad) told me “You’d better learn from other people’s mistakes, because you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

      Unfortunately, Libtards are the purveyors of ‘new and improved’ mistakes because they think they are smarter than the folks who previously committed them.

  • Stuart

    Every conservative knew Heidi was left leaning when she ran, the problem was Republicans still have the old guard in place that has the worn out idea that they don’t have to work very hard to get elected.

    Like I said, I was down to their head quarters and it was as disorganized as Einstines desk. When I volunteered to use my own vehicle to transport older or younger voters to the polls, I was not called back to help with putting out signs or helping transporting.

    The Republican Party needs to remove the old guard and replace them with new blood.

    And stick to its platform. Then get involved with the Young Republicans on campus . Not convincing them that being inclusive means being a rhino.

    Talk about Heidi till you are blue in the face but admit conservatives blew it!

    • OldConserv2011

      Stuart, you’re exactly right. I’m so dismayed by the state republican old guard that I’m seriously leaving the party and resigning my district chairmanship.

  • Dion

    Heidi’s “Who I am” TV commercial concerned me for a while. “I learned how schools, AND tractors AND guns, were all part of how we livED……” (past tense) She is a democrat in case everyone forgot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk2BrRdDUdI

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    I would be willing to bet she votes the democratic line, assault rifle ban, she will vote lock step with the liberal democrats.

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