Senator Heidi Heitkamp has been getting a lot of attention from pro-gun folks because she called the President’s gun control proposals “extreme.” My contention, though, based on Heitkamp’s comments in context is that she’s just posturing. She’s not against gun control. She’s just against being perceived as anti-gun.
Senator Heitkamp believes 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. Senator Heitkamp has clearly stated that all options must be on the table when it comes to addressing gun violence in America.
Heitkamp is saying that the solution to “mass violence” (which, remember, is declining) isn’t just gun control. It’s gun control, plus a lot of other stuff.
I think we can all count on Heitkamp being a reliable vote for gun control for Democrats, limited only to the degree Heitkamp doesn’t want to be perceived as anti-gun by her North Dakota constituency. Meaning Heitkamp will be a lot more anti-gun here at the beginning of her 6-year term than in, say, four or five years when voters are more likely to remember her actions.