Earlier today I wrote about two gun control bills submitted to the North Dakota legislature by Democrat Rep. Steve Zaiser yesterday. The bills, HB1415 and HB1416, would have banned “assault weapons” as well as magazines containing more than 10 rounds.
Those proposals are very much in keeping with what many Democrats, nationally, have called for but clearly Democrat legislative leadership here in North Dakota wasn’t comfortable even voting on the bills. Here’s video of House Minority Leader Kenton Onstand requesting that the bills be withdrawn from consideration before they got a committee hearing or a vote.
That’s a very unusual maneuver in a state were normally every bill introduced gets a committee hearing and a vote.
I asked a Republican legislator why Democrats would have pulled the bills and he answered, “Do you think Sen. Heitkamp would want to answer how she felt about someone from her party back home sponsoring those bills?”
Good point. North Dakota Democrats don’t want be seen going anywhere near the gun control issue.
Update: One Democrat legislator tells me the bill was pulled because most Dems were against it anyway:
@robport Note that ONLY one member signed onto this bill, and many of us in the caucus, including myself were adamently against it.
— Jessica Haak (@jesshaak) January 22, 2013
Fair enough, but if that’s the case why not go on the record with a vote? There’s the rub, I think. They didn’t want to vote for it, but they didn’t want to be seen voting against it either.