After much waffling, Senator Heidi Heitkamp has finally said no to the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill. Here’s the Senator’s press release:
WASHINGTON, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp released the following statement regarding the Manchin-Toomey Amendment:
“I’ve been adamant from the very beginning of this conversation that the focus should be on mental health issues, full and accurate reporting into the NICS database and ensuring that we are prosecuting criminals in possession of or trying to possess firearms. This conversation should be about what is in people’s minds, not about what is in their hands. I commend Senators Manchin and Toomey for working so hard to bring a serious bill to the floor. However, in its current form I do not see a path for my support. I’ve thought long and hard about this, I’ve taken the tough meetings, and I’ve heard overwhelmingly from the people of North Dakota; and at the end of the day my duty is to listen to and represent the people of North Dakota.”
I don’t think this was every really Heitkamp’s decision to make so much as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (you know, the guy who poured millions into getting Heitkamp elected).
If Reid had wanted Heitkamp’s vote, I think, he would have gotten it. As it stands, it doesn’t look like Toomey-Manchin has a chance of passing the Senate, and if Reid forced the matter, the most he could hope to accomplish is forcing a bunch of Democrat Senators from pro-gun states to log an ugly vote the NRA and other pro-gun activists aren’t likely to forget.
Even the better part of a decade out from re-election, Heitkamp can’t afford that kind of a record.