The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 22, 2013

North Dakota activist goes against grain of state’s gun culture

By Stephanie McCrummen

The Washington Post

FARGO, N.D. — One recent afternoon, Susan Beehler, who may be the only gun-control advocate in all of North Dakota, walked into VFW Post 762, a dimly lit, wood-paneled bar in downtown Fargo.

It was, perhaps, the gun-friendliest place in one of the gun-friendliest states in America; a state where gun rights are so sacred that violent felons can have them restored, where guns are so ordinary that a handwritten flier for high-capacity ammunition clips was recently posted on a grocery store bulletin board, next to one for a pinochle tournament.

Still, Beehler was optimistic. She headed for a table in the corner, where two men wearing flannel buffalo plaid were sipping drinks.

“Hello there!” she said. “I’m with the Million Moms for Gun Control group, and we’re looking for responsible gun owners!”

Dick Coleman, who owns 15 guns, and Pete Schlenker, who owns 33, nodded.

“We’re just moms interested in reasonable controls that people can live with,” she continued, trying to sound non-threatening. “Like limiting the number of bullets in magazines? Or universal background checks? That kind of thing —”

“Yep,” Schlenker said. Coleman just sipped his drink. Beehler, a little nervous, kept on with her pitch, unsure where it was all going.

President Barack Obama, speaking after the Connecticut school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, said he was sure that “the vast majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners” would support gun-control measures such as universal background checks or a ban on assault rifles. He appealed to the grass roots: Passing the new laws would require “a wave of Americans . . . standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids.”

The White House strategy is all the more critical in states such as North Dakota, where Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, was elected in November. Winning over Heitkamp and other Democrats from gun-friendly states such as New Mexico, Indiana and West Virginia is the least of what the White House must accomplish to pass changes to gun laws, to say nothing of securing the necessary Republican votes.

Text Only
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video