Heitkamp isn’t alone in opinion

Welcome to Washington, Heidi Heitkamp.

North?Dakota’s newest senator is already being criticized after barely a week on the job for remarks she made during a discussion of gun control on ABC’s “This Week.”

When asked about the Obama administration’s response to the deadly elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., the senator said: “I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration that’s way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about. It’s not going to pass.”

Anti-gun groups immediately criticized Heitkamp for labeling the administration’s discussions of potential gun control measures as “extreme,” but the North Dakota Democrat certainly isn’t the only one who holds that opinion. Plus, Heitkamp’s spokeswoman Whitney Phillips pointed out, the senator has consistently said she believes all options must be considered, and that the discussion must include subjects beyond gun control, such as mental health issues.

Despite the criticism, Heitkamp is right. Any discussion of stopping mass shootings must go beyond guns to include mental health concerns and other social attitudes about violence in general. And some ideas tossed around by gun opponents have been extreme, and there will surely be more.

Heitkamp isn’t the first member of Congress to expressing concern over “extreme” gun restriction proposals, nor will she be the last. We’re pretty sure there are plenty of North Dakotans, those whom she represents in the Senate, who agree with the senator’s views.