Ricketts: The question isn't why someone 'needs' an AR-15
While Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill move toward a deal on guns, don’t ask Gov. Pete Ricketts why someone needs an AR-15 style weapon—the kind of weapon used during two recent mass shootings.
No, according to Ricketts, that’s the wrong question.
As NCN’s Joe Jordan tells us, Nebraska politicians have been fighting over the answer for a good 30 years.
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NE Games and Parks PSA: “Hi I’m Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. Nebraska is a great hunting state.”
Every year Republican Governor Pete Ricketts proclaims Nebraska the best turkey hunting state in the country, hunting that goes hand in hand with guns.
But recent mass shootings, authorities accusing 2 18-year-olds with high powered rifles of killing 31 people, including 19 young children in Texas have put some guns on trial, specifically semi-automatic AR-15 style weapons.
Despite calls for raising the purchase age for rifles from 18 to 21, new gun control talks on Capitol Hill would not prohibit those buys. And that’s just fine with Ricketts, as are those semi-automatic weapons.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Can you explain why someone, other than someone in the military or law enforcement, needs an AR-15?
Gov. Ricketts: The question shouldn't be why do we need it, the question is why are you trying to take away my rights. This is a 2nd Amendment right. It's in the Constitution. That’s a high bar to restrict somebody's rights.
Kerrey TV Ad, 1994: This is a message to Charlton Heston from Senator Bob Kerrey:
Kerrey: I'm a hunter and I believe in the constitutional right to bear arms.
That was nearly 30 years ago then-Senator Bob Kerrey, a Democrat running and eventually winning his reelection, while taking on the gun lobby.
Kerrey: When it's time to hunt birds you need a good gun like this Ruger Red Label. Twenty-five years ago, the War in Vietnam, people hunted me; they needed a good weapon like this AK-47. But you don't need one of these to hunt birds.
Gov. Ricketts: I think we need to focus on the root cause of this which is getting early intervention to people who need our help and not focus on the gun, which is again a constitutionally protected right.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: I understand the constitutionally protected right. But again, why does someone need an AR-15; can't hunt with them you'll blow the animals apart.
Gov. Ricketts: Actually Joe, you do hunt with an AR-15. For example, hunting hogs down in Texas or someplace like that. So, you actually do use them for hunting.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: That's a pretty rare instance.
Gov. Ricketts: You were merely saying you don't use them for hunting. I'm just pointing out you're wrong. And again, it gets back to why are you trying to take away my rights. Why are you trying to infringe upon my constitutional rights? That’s the question you should be asking.
The Senate is expected to vote on the gun safety deal any day now.
Among the main provisions are expanded background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” and funding for gun violence prevention programs and school security.