Democratic Senator: WH Gun-Control Plans 'Way in Extreme'

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 6, 2013 | 12:13pm EST


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D.-N.D.) (AP Photo/Will Kincaid)

( - Newly elected Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said on ABC News' "This Week" today that the gun-control proposals under consideration in the Obama White House are "way in extreme" and are "not going to pass" in Congress.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that a group of administration officials being led by Vice President Joe Biden is crafting a set of gun-control proposals to present to President Barack Obama this month. According to the Post, the proposals "would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors."

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Host George Stephanopoulos asked Sen. Heitkamp: "Are you willing to sign on to some of the reforms that Vice President Biden and President Obama are already talking about?"

"You know, it's unclear," Heitkamp said. "I mean, you read Washington Post stories and you listen to what the administration says, and so I think what we need to do is we need to take a look at what happened at Sandy Hook. When I was attorney general, I was tasked with a national task force on school violence. We made a number of recommendations which, in fact, were adopted at Sandy Hook to help keep schools safer. They weren't adequate.

"Let's start addressing the problem," said Heitkamp. "And to me, one of the issues that I think 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. And so we need to have a broad discussion before we start talking about gun control."

Stephanopoulos followed up: "Well, the White House is talking about that. But are you willing to talk about gun control, as well?"

"Well, I think you need to put everything on the table," said Heitkamp. "But what I hear from the administration--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."

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