Second Amendment Support from an Unlikely Source: Woman Democratic Senator

Official portrait of U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is a supporter of protecting the Second Amendment. Explaining to an audience at a Los Angeles gathering to tape a “Women Rule” podcast, Heitkamp said that in North Dakota gun ownership rights is akin to abortion rights for much of the population.

“I think sometimes people have a diminished sense of the Second Amendment,” she told the audience.

She acknowledged that her views are not the mainstream for women associated with more liberal causes and the Democratic Party, saying that her opinions might “make everybody kind of groan who sees the tragedy that’s happened in this country, as it relates to gun violence.

”Despite her audience’s negative response, she continued to defend her point of view.

Saying that she has a “real kind of visceral reaction to the lack of appreciation—or understanding—about how people feel about the Second Amendment, and how people feel about restrictions on the Second Amendment,” she compared her feelings to those of people opposed to restrictions on abortion rights.

“Restrictions on your reproductive rights — think about how strongly you feel about evaluating those restrictions. That’s how strongly people in North Dakota and Indiana and other places feel about restricting their Second Amendment.

”In a “red state” that has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country and which voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, it is no surprise that Heitkamp holds these views in contradistinction to the platform of her party. Despite her position on gun control, she still won her seat by only a 1 percent margin.

She is against expanded background checks and against restrictions on gun ownership by people with mental health issues, saying both are unconstitutional restrictions of civil liberties, similar to allowing unrestricted search and seizures.

Her solutions to the gun violence epidemic are the “no fly, no buy” bill introduced by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, which prevent people on federal no-fly lists from purchasing guns; and to “harden” security in schools.

“We issued a report on what schools should do in terms of drills, and hardening schools,” said Heitkamp, who was North Dakota’s attorney general at the time of the attack. “And all of these schools have done that, but yet it hasn’t prevented these kinds of shootings.”

“I think we need to go back and take a look at institutions,” she said. “We need to go back and take a look at how, where we missed the mark on so much of this. But I think if we only focus on guns, I think we will miss the opportunity to really fix this problem.”

Gail Nussbaum

Gail Nussbaum has been involved in politics and diplomacy for over 15 years. Her interest in foreign relations, economics and budget policy has led her to her position as fiscal policy writer at Left Justified. Gail can be contacted at gailnussbaum(at)

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