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Tracy Frank, Published March 16 2013

TAKING AIM: Rep. Grande, who opposes gun control, says guns are not ‘something to fear’

FARGO - As an NRA member and concealed weapons license holder, Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, has been publicly outspoken against tighter gun control measures and has supported legislation giving gun owners more freedoms.

Grande is not a hunter, but she says her personal interests have always been self-defense and protecting her family.

“This isn’t something to fear,” Grande said. “It’s a tool to use.”

She said her gun helps her feel safe when traveling alone.

“A big part of it for me is it’s pro-self-defense,” Grande said. “So many times it’s the woman who’s at home. If there’s an intruder, who’s going to be the front line? It’s the women who have to protect.”

Grande, who has three children, said she just taught her 22-year-old daughter how to shoot a gun a few weeks ago so she could protect herself.

“It was kind of neat to watch. She showed no intimidation,” Grande said. “This is a child who years ago said she didn’t want any guns in the house.”

When it comes to gun control, Grande said the important thing is education.

Q Do you think current gun laws need to change?

A I think that the least restrictive laws are the best.

Anytime you restrict the law-abiding citizens from having the ability to protect, all you’ve done is given the non-law-abiding citizens more ground. So that doesn’t work.

I had a sheriff stop by the other day, and we were visiting, and he said there’s no such thing as a gun-free zone. Anybody who wants to say that we have gun-free zones is lying to themselves because they’re only gun-free for the law-abiding citizen.

That is such a critical point.

We have to get away from the thought that we can have a gun-free zone. Every one of the big shootings and the problems that have arose have all been within gun-free zones. Obviously they’re not gun-free if somebody went in with a gun and killed a lot of people.

Are there any changes you would be willing to accept?

No.

We already have background checks going on for all concealed carry (licenses) in North Dakota. I have to be fingerprinted; it has to go through my sheriff, my police station, through the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation). Everybody knows. Make no mistake about it. And then I have to carry a card that I have to show and say I am concealed carry.

Should background checks be mandated for all gun and ammunition purchases?

No.

If you’re an antique collector, you’re not using those things anyway.

The other thing is your hunters, the majority of them have them in the window, or they’re not concealing them in the vehicles. They purchase those weapons for a purpose and that is feeding their families.

In what ways are current gun laws working?

We don’t have an issue around here, so obviously, North Dakota gun laws are working fine.

QWhat do you think are the best ways to stop violence with guns?

A Mental health care and education.

What has happened with so many is if you go back and look, these were all mental health issues and there’s your place to address the issue.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526.