Addressing three notable policies under consideration in the ongoing gun control debate in an interview posted online Tuesday, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) was cagey on universal background checks, supportive of mental health research and unequivocally opposed to an assault weapons ban.
Asked by Jonathan Karl of ABC News if she is in favor of background checks for "virtually all gun purchases," Heitkamp was noncommittal before making a general appeal to do more to help the mentally ill.
"What I'm going to support are things that keep kids safer in schools and provisions that do not violate the Second Amendment," Heitkamp said. "The best law enforcement we have is good intelligence. It's good early intervention. It's good early detection of people who could possibly be doing these things and then getting intervention."
But the newly elected senator said she has no intention of supporting a new assault weapons ban that was unveiled by Senate Democrats last week, arguing that such a prohibition "isn't a solution to the problem."
Representing a red state where hunting plays a prominent role in the local culture and economy, Heitkamp has already found herself at odds with her party peers in the gun control debate. Appearing on ABC's "This Week" earlier this month, she expressed concern toward some of the "extreme" proposals that were reportedly under consideration by the White House gun violence task force. That skepticism earned Heitkamp, who boasts an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, pushback from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which ran attack ads in North Dakota following her appearance on ABC.
(Photo credit: AP)