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Gun Safety Advocates Target Ayotte

Democratic representatives, others say vote against expanded background checks was wrong.

A number of concerned citizens, backed by NH Project for Safer Communities and Granite State Progress, held a press conference at the Legislative Office Building on April 29 to criticize a recent gun safety vote by U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH.

Ayotte was one of a number of senators who voted against the Toomey-Manchin bill that offered improved universal background check provisions, along with other gun control measures, that recently came before the Senate. All the measures failed. Ayotte, a staunch 2nd Amendment supporter, has stated that she voted against the measure because she believed it would place unnecessary burdens on citizens and gun owners who aren’t criminals.

Ayotte will be targeted by activists at three upcoming town meetings she is hosting in Warren later today, in Tilton at 5 p.m., and Fitzwilliam at noon on Thursday.

The activists, including a number of Concord state representatives, said they were shocked by Ayotte’s votes, especially in light of a number of polls which purported to show solid support for background checks and gun safety provisions.

“It seems clear that Senator Ayotte needs a reminder that New Hampshire isn’t just a pro-gun state, it’s a pro-gun safety state,” said Judy Stadtman, the co-founder of NH Project for Safer Communities, of Portsmouth. “We will not forget that Senator Ayotte passed up a critical opportunity to do the right thing and make our communities safer.”

Rabbi Robin Nafshi of Temple Beth Jacob pointed to tens of thousands of deaths by guns, including many children and at least 60 mass murders in recent years as a need for more background checks. She said most people, including NRA members, were supporters of expanded background checks. She pointed to the Torah that reminded followers to ensure that there were fences around a home’s roof so no one would fall off. Nafshi called for background checks and a national registry for all guns would provide such safety.

“We know that the overwhelming majority of Americans and Granite Staters support these efforts as well,” she said.

Bill Kingston, a veteran and gun owner, and a co-founder of New Castle Promise, a new organization that was started after the Sandy Hook shootings, called Ayotte a political hack who marched the party line even though she campaigned on going to Washington to clean things up. He said he was disgusted with her vote against the background checks.

“We are horrified that the Constitution of the country that we fought for, myself in Vietnam, has been so twisted and tortured by the likes of Wayne LaPierre and the gun manufacturers he represents,” he said. “Responsible gun owners understand that all of our constitutional rights have limitations.”

State Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, who is also a city councilor, said he was “extremely disappointed” with Ayotte’s vote, adding that polls had shown that people in the state supported background checks. He called on residents to contact Ayotte and tell her that the votes were wrong.

“I do hope those citizens of New Hampshire who are a part of that 91 percent who supported universal background checks will attend town meetings an let Senator Ayotte know, first-hand, how disappointed we are, with the lack of representation,” he said.

The activists, including a handful of children, held colorful signs, including requests to stand with the children of Newtown. Kenneth Roos of SEIU held a sign, splattered with red spots that read, “NRA = Domestic Terrorism.”

When asked how many in attendance were Republicans, no one raised their hands. Many did say that it was the first time being active in the gun safety effort although they had been activists on other issues.

When it was pointed out that the Toomey-Manchin bill wouldn’t have prevented the Newtown shooting and that most gun advocates were focused on legislation that would actually prevent future school shootings instead, Stadtman said that anyone in the room would turn back the clock to prevent the Sandy Hook shootings, if they had the opportunity. But, she said, most people knew that background checks worked, and kept guns out of the hands of criminals.

“They are quite effective,” she said. “I don’t think it is an either-or. We have an onslaught of gun violence in America right now.”

Nafshi said 40 to 60 percent of sales at gun shows were individuals selling guns or re-selling guns without having to go through background checks. Even saving one life, she said, “is as if to save the world.”

UPDATE 1

Ayotte, a former New Hampshire Attorney General, is getting some support for her vote. The popular Greg and the Morning Buzz radio show aired an ad April 30 to tout her "courage to oppose misguided gun control laws that wouldn't have prevented Sandy Hook." New Hampshire members of the NRA paid for the ad.

UPDATE 2, 11:23 a.m.

When asked for official comment about the gun vote criticism, Ayotte's office forwarded a WMUR-TV link, featuring an interview from April 25, where the senator talks about her votes.

UPDATE 3, 12:20 p.m.

Jeff Grappone, Ayotte's communications director, also offered the following statement:

“These attacks are misleading. Senator Ayotte voted for legislation that had bipartisan support to fix the current broken background check system and increase prosecution of those who illegally seek to obtain firearms, and she also worked across party lines to successfully pass legislation to strengthen the nation's mental health system.”

Robert Ponce April 30, 2013 at 09:27 PM
I think you see my point.
jsr April 30, 2013 at 09:29 PM
The facts speak for themselves, 42 Republican Senators voted against the will of 90% of the population. Plain & Simple, they failed to carry out the instructions of the people who put them in office. We have one choice left. Remove them from office as fast as the election or criminal courts will allow us. BTW, I am a gun owning Republican & all the horsecrap about infringing my rights is nonsense. I filled out more paperwork for a marriage licence than I get for gun registration. My ex may be dangerous, but, fortunately, she doesn't come equipped with a 16 round clip.
Peter777 April 30, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Maybe not at Newtown. But, many mass murders may have been prevented by gun background checks that are as foolproof as one can get them. Case in point--- the Virginia Tech shooter has been seen for mental problems that would no doubt placed him on a list that should have resulted in denial of the right to purchase guns and ammo. As it turned out, there was no background check, and he bought guns and ammo on line for local delivery. If we had had background checks, there is very good probability that 31 students and professors at VT would be alive today. So, for you to imply that the background check law would be ineffective because it may have not prevent Newtown is to deny common sense. Another point- if the mental condition of persons had been more of an issue in the U.S., perhaps the Newtown shooter's Mom would have been more aware of the dangerous provision of guns to her own son. Perhaps the mother would be alive today along with a lot of innocent school children. On the lawyer's points, his stuff is just a smokescreen of legalese to block legislation that most Americans want and to excuse senators like Kelly Ayotte for voting to not allow democracy to actually work. (There is no excuse for her vote.) The attorney could help solve the problem with guns in the wrong hands, but I note that he is employed by the CATO Institute that never bothers with what is the greater good, and often does not want to be bothered with actual facts.
Dale Harrington April 30, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Ken... where did you find the facts on what states do and what states do not require an ID and background check at gun shows? I would like to see that.
Wayne's World April 30, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Doggone JPF36, you didn't check out www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp, that picks up the very same "letter", word for word, written by a "Ed Chenel", who identifies himself as a "police officer from Australia". This was written back in 2001 according to "snopes". Your source, Mark Alesse seems to have plagiarized this old letter and presented it as his own, a shameful act in itself. At least other sources on the internet presents it as an "Ed Chenel" letter, but with no date on the letter for obvious reasons - it was written 12 years ago. My math may be a bit rusty but statistics that goes until 2007 is more recent than the information you quote from 2001. aside from other issues presented by www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun-control-in-australia/ or www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp, there are real problems with the source of information you are using.
Ken Fajans April 30, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Dale, here are a few sources. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/gun-show-firearms-bankground-checks-state-laws-map.html http://civilliberty.about.com/od/guncontrol/a/Gun-Shows.htm Actually, according to these JPF is WRONG and NH doesn't require background checks at gun shows.
Wayne's World April 30, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Ken and JPF - I did let Mark Alesse know how I feel. I don't know whether the Patch or Alesse have the guts to let it stay on his blog. here's what I wrote: Mark Alesse - Why didn't you mention that you took this blog, word for word, from a letter written by a supposedly named "Ed Chenel", back in 2001? You might want to check out www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp before you look like a total fool and before you commit plagiary again! Ken, you may want to check out www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun-control-in-australia/ and www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp which do provide sources and demonstrates how the data is manipulated.
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Senator Ayotte has the support of the informed voter, not the idealogical Progressive lemmings who have yet to even understand the problems with Manchin-Toomey. And it couldn't be debated as the Democrats didn't open it up for discussion to potentially amend the issues with it. Oh well, no surprise that the anti-gunners and faux-gun owner "supporters" are here ranting about something that is patently false. Senator Ayotte actually is in support of increased background checks but it has to have a reinstatement process, can't make accidental criminals out of law abiding citizens, and must better ensure against any gun registry.
Wayne's World April 30, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Have fun JPF & Ken - it's been a blast but I'm hungry and have to "reload".
Reality Geezer April 30, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Yes, one of the sources is Snopes.com--"rumor has it". Not quite a comic book, but close..The goal of the gun control law is to have less guns available for killing--get it??
ForThePeople April 30, 2013 at 10:18 PM
I can just see your eyes rolling back into your head as you say the words "voted for the Constitution." Because the Constitution was up for a vote, right? All you righties do the same thing: "founding fathers," "Constitution," "MY rights!"( extra spittle is used when adding the word "violate"), until you have worked yourself up into such a brainless rage your ability to form a complete sentence or chain of thought has long been been dumped down your latrines. I bet you haven't even read the Constitution, much less read the Second Amendment. Do you know how many amendments there are? I'll wait while you google these things. Also, why do righties extol the second amendment but claim the Constitution is not an evolving document?
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Keith, The senators that opposed it couldn't participate in the process to amend as the Democrats didn't allow for the discussion. Senator Ayotte actually filed an alternative that was shot down. There is no NRA conspiracy, they are just doing their job to stand up for our Constitutional rights.
Reality Geezer April 30, 2013 at 10:24 PM
I get my info from Bloomberg and 60 minutes......Opinions from right wing nuts are discarded..... “States that have the most firearm laws have the fewest firearm deaths, and it’s a very direct association,” said Eric Fleegler, lead author of the study published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Further studies are needed to draw any conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships, the researchers said........
Ken Fajans April 30, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Do you understand that name-calling doesn't help your argument? It only makes you look like someone who can't come up with a rational argument and has to resort calling. Insults and Names may hurt your feelings but guns will probably kill you.
ForThePeople April 30, 2013 at 10:40 PM
It's spelled "ideological."
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:41 PM
You can blame Democrats for not wanting the up or down vote...
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:42 PM
David, Obviously many of the posters here have no idea what you are talking about and think that you are making this up... Much better to just parrot the malarkey that is out there about Senator Ayotte...
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:44 PM
There is no other organization that spends more money on gun safety in the US. Bloomberg has spent more money gun-grabbing than the NRA has spent this year in support of our Constitutional rights!
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:45 PM
The support for the NRA has skyrocketed in the past 60 days!!
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Thx FTP, didn't proof before hitting reply...30 lashes! I-D-E-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L
David Pittelli April 30, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Ken, read some history. It is true that the NRA was less militant about gun control until the late 1970s. But the NRA became more militant (and decided to remain in DC instead of becoming more of a hunters' advocate in Colorado), not because of the gun manufacturers, but because militants ran against the NRA's slate for Board of Directors, and won. So it is because the NRA is accountable to its members -- has a Board democratically elected by its members -- that the NRA is now more militant. In contrast, gun manufacturers have repeatedly shown themselves willing to make deals with gun-banners (e.g., Smith & Wesson in 2000, Colt in 1998), and only major boycotts by gun buyers have brought them back into line.
David Pittelli April 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM
jake's ganni, It may be that if you ask people whether they "support background checks," 90% will answer in the affirmative. That does not mean that they have read Toomey-Manchin or have an opinion on it, or understand what the current background check system requires, or wouldn't have preferred that Senator Reid allow 30 hours of debate on the Amendment, which he refused to do.
Apljak April 30, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Ken, You seem very supportive of gun rights supporters needing to give up not only the 2nd, but also their 4th and 5th Amendment Rights. But we should be okay with it as the Bill of Rights is already being incrementally destroyed by Progressive activism. Just for the record, which ones are you willing to so arbitrarily give up??
David Pittelli May 01, 2013 at 12:02 AM
People who are not gun dealers do not have to perform background checks, whether they sell at their home or at gun shows. People who are gun dealers do have to perform background checks, whether they sell at a gun show or elsewhere. So it is not a "gun show loophole" it is a non-dealer "loophole." In all this we are speaking of the federal government, not the states, which are free to enact stricter requirements. On can make a case that a person roaming around a gun show with a "for sale" sign on his gun is qualitatively different than a person selling privately elsewhere, because the former is easier for a criminal to find. But in fact criminals rarely (2%) get their guns from gun shows, perhaps because a gun show is the last place a criminal wants to show himself, as gun shows are crowded with cops, ex-cops, security people, etc. Criminals are much more likely to steal guns or use straw buyers, actions which are already illegal.
Apljak May 01, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Seeing as there is so much societal concern, I wonder if all of these Progressives pushing for more gun regulations are also as vocal and tenacious about pushing for increased regulation and inspections of Abortion Clinics... Or is it that you don't want to upset NARAL??? If Gosnel were running a vet practice, he would have been in jail already..but no one wants to report or speak out on the case as it may affect the abortion industry. Shows how screwed up society is, trample the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens but stick your head in the ground when it comes to murder of infants!! Nice job folks!
freedomofspeech May 01, 2013 at 06:24 AM
So many of you are begging for history to repeat itself. Has anybody read a history book? Or looked up gun and crime in gun free areas compared to anti gun control areas? Looked at how many lives saved because someone had a gun to defend themselves and others? Did anybody know gun violence is down 49%. Do you want a Chicago with 25 murders every weekend from the high gun control. Nobody is researching why we should be worried history will repeat itself. Facts not emotions is being a responsible Senator. Awful that people can kill, but criminals always can get guns. They buy them on the streets like drugs. Than they know everyone is defenseless. Only a good guy with a gun can save someone with a gun killing people. If principal at SH had a gun those kids may still be here. Thank you to Kelly for honoring her oath and all those that died forfreedom.
Jane May 02, 2013 at 12:23 PM
You don't have to read a history book to know that the decrease in gun violence in this country has nothing to do with the increase in guns. It rather has to do with stricter incarceration and an increase of police officers on the ground in crime ridden areas. Sorry, but that vigilante dream sequence you play out in your mind doesn't often happen. You know - the one where you whip out your gun and kill the bad guy? Or save your family from a home invasion? This very rarely happens. Instead, you either never use that gun for anything other than recreation and hunting. Or your gun ownership takes a tragic turn and a child finds it loaded in your drawer or you or someone close to you flies into a rage or depression and uses it in a tragic matter. Your gun ownership does not make society safer. I'm not saying that you are not entitled to have one, but certainly don't make lofty claims about how your gun is making me safer.
Robert Ponce May 03, 2013 at 02:40 PM
TIP of THE DAY: for all yooz ou there, Hx DOES repeat its self. whether you've read about it or not.
wakeupsheep May 06, 2013 at 05:02 PM
They already do background checks. This will be a way for government to know who has what. That is why this bill is very bad for the future of freedom. People don't understand history. Crime down 49% and Chicago with gun control has a Sandy Hook crisis every weekend with criminals having guns and innocent people without anyway to protect themselves. Google Agenda 21 and New World Order. Learn how our government wants to steal our money and if we protest throw us in FEMA camps. This is real. Research it.
Peter777 May 06, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Freedomofspeech--- do you care about any freedom other than owning as many guns and weapons as you want? By the way, most people who served in the military did not do that primarily to assure you could have automatic weapons and mega-clips. Not the ones I served with anyway.

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