North Dakota Democrats Duck Questions About Gun Control


Earlier in the legislative session North Dakota Democrats rushed to the floor of the state House to pull a couple of anti-gun control bills – a ban on “assault weapons” as well as high-capacity magazines. Basically, two laws that closely mirror the Democrat push for gun control nationally.

The move telegraphed to everyone paying attention just how little North Dakota Democrats want to emulate their national colleagues. In a legislative body that gives pretty much every bill a committee hearing and a vote – even the infamous “lady bug” bill – the Dems didn’t want to go on the record on gun control.

Nor did they want to be on the record when the Washington Post asked them, as part of an article about frequent SAB commenter Susan Beehler as a lone voice for gun control in the state, asked them why they aren’t pushing the Democrat gun control agenda in North Dakota.

Their answer? A thoroughly no committal “We’re, uh, busy and stuff.” Senator Heidi Heitkamp turned down a request for an interview on the subject:

The state Democratic Party has not taken a position on the bills, and a spokeswoman said they are not likely to champion the issue of gun control.

“From a party perspective, there is so much happening right now as far as funding milk for elementary-age kids, tax breaks for oil companies,” said Rania Batrice, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party. “To be completely honest, we’re very focused on that.” Heitkamp declined a request for an interview.

This response from Heitkamp and her state party is almost worse than coming out for gun control, which most North Dakotans oppose. If they were honest, and just said “yes we’re for gun control” that would at least be respectable. They’re taking a position, like it or not, and they’re being straight forward about it.

But to refuse to take a position at all, to dissemble and avoid when the subject comes up, is dishonest.

Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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