Sen. Heidi Heitkamp: Reported Obama Gun Proposals 'Way in Extreme'
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp , D-N.D, told me this morning on "This Week" that while all options should be on the table to address gun violence, President Obama's reported plans to curb shootings are "way in extreme" when I pressed her this morning on the kinds on measures she could potentially support.
"I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration - and if the Washington Post is to be believed - that's way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about. And it's not going to pass," said Heitkamp, a member of the National Rifle Association.
Heitkamp, who has an "A" rating from the NRA and was elected in a state that Gov. Mitt Romney won by nearly 20 points, stressed the importance of addressing mental health as part of the effort to curb violent shootings.
Read a transcript of the full interview with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp HERE.
"Let's start addressing the problem. And to me, one of the issues that I think comes, screams out of this is the issue of mental health and the care for the mentally ill in our country, especially the dangerously mentally ill," she said. "And, so, we need to have a broad discussion before we start talking about gun control."
The renewed effort to address gun violence by the White House comes after 20 children were shot and killed last month in Newtown, Conn.
Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, who joined Heitkamp on "This Week" added that addressing mental health issues surrounding gun violence would be just part of trying to solve the problem of violent shootings.
"And many folks who have said that mental health and mental illness is an issue, I agree with that. But at the same time, many of those folks - and not to speak to the senator's position - but many of those folks have also slashed funding for mental health care for mental illness," he said. "And they're unwilling to close the gun show loophole, which would allow anyone, whether they're in a gang, whether they're mentally ill, to go in and buy a gun with no background check at all, including the Bushmaster and the AR-15, which we know have caused problems."