North Dakota Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven on Wednesday voted against an amended Senate gun control bill that would have expanded background checks.
Heitkamp, a Democrat who recently marked her first 100 days in office, said in a statement her position on new gun control laws has not changed.
“I’ve been adamant from the very beginning of this conversation that the focus should be on mental health issues, full and accurate reporting into the NICS database and ensuring that we are prosecuting criminals in possession of or trying to possess firearms,” Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp had been considered one of a handful of Democratic senators who would not support the Manchin-Toomey amendment. It needed 60 votes to gain approval in the Senate.
The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
Hoeven, a Republican who had supported discussion on the amendment, said before the vote he would not support expanding background checks to include gun shows and Internet sales.
Heitkamp said she has heard overwhelmingly from North Dakotans that they do not support the bill in its current form.
“I commend Senators Manchin and Toomey for working so hard to bring a serious bill to the floor,” Heitkamp said.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this, I’ve taken the tough meetings ... and at the end of the day, my duty is to listen to and represent the people of North Dakota.”