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Commentary: Would Senator Heitkamp support the use of secret lists to deny women abortions?

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is cheered on by delegates at her nomination for the Senate Saturday at the North Dakota Democratic convention. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

It’s an election year, and Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp is facing re-election in an increasingly red state as one of the most endangered incumbents in the Senate.

So now Heitkamp is suddenly talking about the importance of the 2nd amendment. Because that sort of thing will play well in North Dakota which has (according to this data from 2015) a higher rate of gun ownership than Texas.

Heitkamp told an audience in California that the right to keep and bear arms is as important as, uh, the right to an abortion:

“I think sometimes people have a diminished sense of the Second Amendment,” Heitkamp told her audience this week during a Women Rule podcast taping in Los Angeles.

She acknowledged the political climate in California, noting that her views “might make everybody kind of groan who sees the tragedy that’s happened in this country, as it relates to gun violence.” The audience visibly tensed as Heitkamp continued to push her perspective, at some points audibly questioning her reasoning.

But the senator explained that she herself 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.” Heitkamp compared her feelings to those of abortion-rights supporters: “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.”

The full audio of this podcast will be available here at some point. It wasn’t posted as I write this.

Anyway, Heitkamp’s pronouncements of about the importance of the 2nd amendment ring hollow.

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