Can Senator Heitkamp's Vote For Gun Control Be Bought With Exemptions?

heidi heitkamp

heidi heitkamp

The Washington Post reports that Senator Heidi Heitkamp is being wooed into voting for gun control with exemptions for background checks for some North Dakota communities.

Which is reminiscent of efforts to pass Obamacare by offering state-specific exemptions from certain regulations in the bill (i.e. the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Bismarck Earmark”).

In an effort to win the support of some undecided rural-state senators, Manchin and Toomey were discussing the possibility Monday of adding language that would exempt select far-flung communities in Alaska and North Dakota from some background check requirements, according to Senate aides familiar with the talks. Such exceptions could help win the support of Alaska’s senators Mark Begich (D) and Lisa Murkowski (R) and North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, a moderate with an A-rating from the NRA.

Buzzfeed previously laid out the Democrat path to passing gun control in the Senate (apparently confirmed by Senate Democrat aids). According to the plan, Senator Reid will allow amendments for a new assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban to be brought to the floor, which will give allegedly pro-gun Senators like Heidi Heitkamp a chance to vote against them.

By voting against them, Senator Heitkamp then has a pro-gun talking point to bring back to her pro-gun constituency, and it lessens the blow of voting for the overall bill.

But that, by itself, apparently isn’t enough. Which is no doubt what these exemptions are all about. But the idea of an exemption lasting all that long once the law itself is passed is ludicrous, and we shouldn’t want exemptions anyway.

If the law is good policy, it should apply to all. If it isn’t, then it should be law.

I suspect that we’re going to see Heitkamp vote for some form of a gun control law. Democrats will keep watering it down until on-the-fence Senators like Heitkamp find it to their liking. And they may even water it down so much that Senator John Hoeven finds he can vote for it too.