Cramer responds to gun proposalNorth Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives had a positive reaction to President Barack Obama’s call for sweeping changes to address gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting a month ago.
By: By Ryan Johnson, Forum News Service, The Jamestown Sun
WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives had a positive reaction to President Barack Obama’s call for sweeping changes to address gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting a month ago.
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told The Forum the president’s remarks contained a “pleasant surprise” — Obama’s 23 executive orders announced Wednesday weren’t as “extreme” as the rumors circulating in advance of his news conference.
Still, Obama’s “insistent language” could make it hard to foster the kind of collaborative, thorough discussion Cramer said is vital to address all factors in violence, including the role of television, movies and video games, as well as the breakdown of the family and faith in the culture.
He said an example is the president’s call for Congress to ban assault weapons that only account for 3 percent of the country’s homicides, while handguns are involved in more than half of murders.
“We’re still swinging at symbols instead of the reality,” he said, “and that’s why I think a bigger, deeper and broader discussion needs to take place rather than sort of an Oval Office mandate.”
Neither of North Dakota’s senators directly addressed Obama’s gun control plans on Wednesday.
In a statement that made no specific mention of the proposals, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said all Americans want to reduce violence — a goal “tragically brought to the fore by the recent events in Newtown, Aurora and elsewhere in our nation.” He said leaders need to “carefully consider” any legislation to address violence in schools and communities.
“To truly reduce acts of violence in our society, however, I believe we will need to take a thoughtful, comprehensive approach in order to build bipartisan support and, more importantly, to arrive at effective measures that will actually succeed,” he said in a written statement.
Hoeven said that includes ways of preventing criminals and people with mental illnesses from having guns, as well as increasing security at schools and fully enforcing current gun laws. But the self-described “strong proponent of the Second Amendment” said restricting law-abiding citizens from owning guns wouldn’t address the problem.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., was at a sending-off ceremony for troops headed to Afghanistan and wasn’t available for comment Wednesday, spokeswoman Whitney Phillips told The Forum. Heitkamp didn’t issue a statement on Obama’s proposals.
Heitkamp was criticized earlier this month by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence after comments she made Jan. 6 on ABC’s “This Week.” When asked if addressing the problem of gun violence included gun control, she said rumored proposals from the Obama administration printed in the Washington Post were “way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about.”