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Are the President's Gun Safety Proposals "Common Sense?"

PHOTO: Heather Martens with Protect Minnesota says the gun safety package announced by President Obama on Wednesday is common sense and reasonable. CREDIT: Dennis Drenner
PHOTO: Heather Martens with Protect Minnesota says the gun safety package announced by President Obama on Wednesday is common sense and reasonable. CREDIT: Dennis Drenner
January 17, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. - President Obama has unveiled a plan aimed at curbing gun violence in America. The package of legislation for Congress includes a ban on high-capacity magazines and the reinstatement of a ban on some assault-style weapons.

Gun-safety advocate Heather Martens calls these "common sense measures," along with the proposal to have mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales.

"That is really crucial to our efforts to prevent the guns from falling into the hands of people who should not have them: criminals or people with serious mental illness."

The National Rifle Association says law-abiding gun owners should not be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen, and the organization claims the push is more about attacking the Second Amendment than keeping children safe.

Martens disagrees, saying the Second Amendment and public safety are not contradictory. She thinks moving forward with these plans is something many gun owners can get behind.

"I grew up in a hunting family, myself. I learned to shoot when I was 10 years old. The NRA I knew as a child is not the NRA of today. NRA lobbyists today represent the firearms industry, especially manufacturers of assault weapons."

President Obama also announced 23 executive actions, which include a directive to strengthen the national criminal background-check system. Martens likes the move to allow for the study of gun violence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Congress has prevented these studies for a number of years now. President Obama said 'We don't benefit from ignorance.' We need to find out what's really happening out there in order to understand how to better prevent gun violence."

For every 100,000 people in North Dakota, there were six firearm deaths in 2011, which is below the national average.

More info about Martens' group's positions is available at www.protectmn.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND