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Heitkamp was right to vote against comprehensive background checks

April 18, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Good for Heidi Heitkamp.

Heitkamp was one of four Democratic Senators who voted against comprehensive background check legislation yesterday, attracting criticism from the party at large. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, a Republican, also voted against the legislation, as did the majority of Republicans.

Heitkamp said, and I agree, 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 fire arms. The conversation should be about what is in people's minds, not about what is in their hands." She added that the legislation would have imposed too great a burden on law-abiding gun owners.

Heitkamp is entirely correct. A comprehensive background check would not have prevented the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that claimed 26 lives or other mass shootings. The perpetrators in those cases used legally obtained firearms.

However, a stronger mental health system might have saved some of those victims. Jared Loughner, the perpetrator of the January 2011 Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage, is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting last summer, also reportedly suffers from severe mental illness. Adam Lanza, the killer of the children and teachers at Sandy Hook, also apparently had serious mental health issues.

It should be easier than it is for the relatives and friends of people like those men to get them help. Unfortunately, the mental health system has been gutted in the past 30 years and existing laws make it extremely difficult to force an adult with an untreated mental illness to get help until he has actually hurt himself or others. Parents are sometimes forced to surrender custody of a child with severe mental illness to the government to get them the help they need because the cost of treatment is so prohibitive. I encourage Heitkamp and others in Congress to tackle the broken mental health care system.

However, Heitkamp was right to vote against comprehensive background checks for all citizens. Her vote represents the wishes of most North Dakotans, those who voted for her and those who didn't.

 
 

Article Comments

(41)

angeR69

Apr-26-13 10:10 AM

Andrea, a shill. I am laughing. They're turning on you, Andrea. You're not towing the line. They thought you were like them. Once you're part of the collective, there's no place for independent thought and reason. You've betrayed them. And so has Heidi. She'll pay the price for that one.

icart68

Apr-22-13 2:14 PM

Last time I checked...your all about the constitution...same rules apply...don't they? Or are you just living in *********land with rush???

MattRothchild

Apr-22-13 1:58 PM

Who said anything about abortion? Stay on topic, please, rather than try to distract. Take a little more personal ownership of the fact that I just destroyed your "argument".

I bet you aren't able to comprehend any of what I have to say about that topic anyway.

icart68

Apr-22-13 11:47 AM

So then by that logic Matt...You must be against all of the abortion bills that our state legislature just passed in which is going to end up costing our state MILLIONS of dollars to defend UNCONSITUTIONAL rights....Right???

"If we wish to claim to be a society dedicated to self-ownership, then we must be willing to resist demands that fall along the continuum of prohibition, demands that people grovel to those in power for permission to live as they wish,permission that, let's be honest, is unlikely to be granted by those who demand it be sought...unless of course you're well-connected and/or are a member of the gentry."

Your words...not mine!

locomotive

Apr-21-13 9:29 PM

So governing by poll is now the only acceptable way a politician can operate? Whatever happened to a degree of principle? And if polling is to determine a politician's decisions, somebody should have told Conrad, Dorgan & Pomeroy before the ACA vote that a majority of NoDaks didn't want it.

I agree with Andrea's statement here: "Heitkamp's suggestion to focus on strengthening enforcement of existing laws and on the mental health system has a far better chance of increasing safety than universal background checks, which would likely be an undue burden on legal gun owners."

billldoesntgetit

Apr-21-13 8:28 PM

Back in December or January the Seattle cops had a buy back going.. Some guy brought in a rocket launcher.. I guess the private "buyers" were out in full force buying up the guns ahead of the police..

Interesting how that works..Guess an individual could set up a buy back program and give folks chirstmas money.. or grocery money..

MattRothchild

Apr-21-13 2:43 PM

Heitkamp was right to vote against the bill and Andrea was right to defend her.

If we wish to claim to be a society dedicated to self-ownership, then we must be willing to resist demands that fall along the continuum of prohibition, demands that people grovel to those in power for permission to live as they wish,permission that, let's be honest, is unlikely to be granted by those who demand it be sought...unless of course you're well-connected and/or are a member of the gentry.

These attempts by teh 1% and their toadies to impose their will on the 99% is, once again, downright disgusting.

EarlyBird

Apr-21-13 2:13 PM

There are buybacks ongoing in several states now and most states have had them. They are all just pieces of metal, some good metal though.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-21-13 12:23 PM

U.S. gun buyback programs may well get people to turn in old, unused guns that would have little value on the market in hope of getting more money for them. I'm skeptical that they have much of an impact here.

EarlyBird

Apr-21-13 12:03 PM

Gun buybacks have been going on for many years in the USA. Hopefully the folks who hate guns are buying them and destroying them to help increase the value for the collectors.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-21-13 11:57 AM

Regarding the Australian gun buyback program, everything I've read indicates that it was compulsory. They enacted the law following a mass shooting there. The government compensated gun owners for turning in their guns, which had formerly been legal to own and were now illegal. I have no reason to doubt the stats you've cited are accurate but, again, we are talking about Australia. Exactly what do you think would happen if the U.S. Congress suddenly outlawed assault weapons and told legal gun owners to start turning them in and they'd get a fair price? A certain number of people would turn in the guns, a certain number of other people would ignore the law and some people would see it as a declaration of war and respond violently. Australia's gun buyback program wouldn't work here and it would probably have dramatically different results.

EarlyBird

Apr-21-13 8:21 AM

Andrea.. they are messing with you using their peat and repeat game. They have sick minds so we are best to let them play with each other.

rajiihammr

Apr-21-13 1:09 AM

Stop digging Andrea.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-20-13 11:01 PM

By the way, anyone who knows me well would be on the floor laughing at the thought of me being an NRA shill.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-20-13 10:57 PM

And again, Australia is a different country, with different laws and a different culture. What they did there will not work here. Urban areas of the United States tend to have strict gun laws and more gun violence than rural areas. People who die by gun here tend to die in hunting accidents or when a kid gets hold of a gun in the home, which are safety issues.

rajiihammr

Apr-20-13 10:26 PM

icart68---9:59 post Was super!!! Reveals Andrea as a shill. Her latest post here had all the NRA buzz words.

New fan here.

icart68

Apr-20-13 10:01 PM

Whoops....Last part cut off

The American National Rifle Association claimed in 2000 that violent crimes had increased in Australia since the introduction of new laws. The federal Attorney General of Austraila Daryl Williams accused the NRA of falsifying government statistics and urged the NRA to "remove any reference to Australia" from its website."

hhmmmm????

icart68

Apr-20-13 9:59 PM

Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University finding that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides. The paper also estimated that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people results in a 35 to 50 percent decline in the homicide rate. That provides strong circumstantial evidence for the law’s effectiveness.

Secondly...NO WHERE (At least a reputable) does it say guns were "TAKEN" and people were "FORCED" into jail...Unless of course you look at the NRA or KKK sites...Ya, those are REAL reputable sites, huh???

"The American National Rifle Association claimed in 2000 that violent crimes had increased in Australia since the introduction of new laws. The federal Attorney Generalof Australia Daryl Williams accused the NRA of falsifying government statist

AndreaJohnson

Apr-20-13 9:35 PM

Australia is an entirely different country with different laws and a different culture. As I recall, they confiscated illegal guns and threatened people with prison if they didn't turn them in.

That's not possible to do in the United States, both because of Second Amendment protections and because there are so many guns already in circulation. Gun control laws are followed by law abiding citizens who aren't likely to be violent. Criminals who want guns are likely able to get them or borrow them from a family member or friend who owns one legally. Heitkamp's suggestion to focus on strengthening enforcement of existing laws and on the mental health system has a far better chance of increasing safety than universal background checks, which would likely be an undue burden on legal gun owners.

icart68

Apr-20-13 9:31 PM

So then "assuming" your correct loco, every poll taken is BS??!! Like how 90% want background checks, and even right down to the 11% approval rating of congress....They are all lying??!! REALLY??!!

And your "source" your using is from politifact..hhhmmm?????

locomotive

Apr-20-13 7:28 PM

Politifact . com:

"...gun/crime data can be used to construct statements that appear to prove diametrically opposed points.

"Another big caveat: Just because two conditions crop up together (i.e., they correlate) doesn’t mean one caused the other. Many firearms studies and news stories we reviewed included a statement to that effect -- and then went ahead and plunked down the stats together anyway.

"And all that’s before you get to the issue of whether political bias has affected the research."

It's been done before: people can and do use statistics to say what they want to say.

One word: Quinnipiac.

icart68

Apr-20-13 1:00 PM

"Areas with the strictest gun laws also tend to have higher crime rates"

REALLY???..One word....Australia

rajiihammr

Apr-20-13 11:04 AM

"Areas with the strictest gun laws also tend to have higher crime rates"

Andrea is this statement proof of anything? How easy is it to drive a car to another county? A county which probably has lacks gun purchase requirement for the sole reason that there is (blood) money to be made. Question...do the areas surrounding a strict gun control area sell a lot of hunting rifles or handguns? Gee, let me think about that one.

locomotive

Apr-20-13 8:44 AM

Prehistoric? Is that the best the puppydog can dish out?

EarlyBird

Apr-20-13 8:16 AM

There is no way in the universe that people from 3 States can equal any type of majority in this country.

 
 

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