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Shaheen, Shea-Porter and Kuster back assault-weapons ban; Ayotte wants ‘thorough review’ of laws

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. speaks as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stands at left  during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. speaks as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stands at left during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Veronique Pozner, left, embraces a young girl as she arrives at B'nai Israel Cemetery for burial services for her 6-year-old son Noah Pozner, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Monroe, Conn. Noah Pozner was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    Veronique Pozner, left, embraces a young girl as she arrives at B'nai Israel Cemetery for burial services for her 6-year-old son Noah Pozner, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Monroe, Conn. Noah Pozner was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • NH Governor-elect Maggie Hassan, Representative-elect Annie Kuster, Representative-elect Carol Shea Porter, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen prepare to pose for pictures after they participated in a roundtable discussion at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics moderated by Manchester's Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Robin A. Comstock;  December 7, 2012.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)

    NH Governor-elect Maggie Hassan, Representative-elect Annie Kuster, Representative-elect Carol Shea Porter, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen prepare to pose for pictures after they participated in a roundtable discussion at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics moderated by Manchester's Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Robin A. Comstock; December 7, 2012.

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets with the Monitor for an editorial review board; Monday, March 21, 2011.

    U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets with the Monitor for an editorial review board; Monday, March 21, 2011. Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. speaks as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stands at left  during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • Veronique Pozner, left, embraces a young girl as she arrives at B'nai Israel Cemetery for burial services for her 6-year-old son Noah Pozner, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Monroe, Conn. Noah Pozner was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • NH Governor-elect Maggie Hassan, Representative-elect Annie Kuster, Representative-elect Carol Shea Porter, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen prepare to pose for pictures after they participated in a roundtable discussion at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics moderated by Manchester's Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Robin A. Comstock;  December 7, 2012.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff)
  • U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets with the Monitor for an editorial review board; Monday, March 21, 2011.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen yesterday declared the country must “get deadly assault weapons off our streets” in the wake of Friday’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. New Hampshire’s other senator, Republican Kelly Ayotte, has opposed banning assault weapons, but her office said she “supports a thorough review of our laws” in the wake of the killings.

“While Sen. Ayotte believes that denying the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens will not change the behavior of those intent on using firearms to commit horrific crimes, she supports a thorough review of our laws, including how we deal with mental illness, to determine what can be done to deter and prevent mass shootings,” spokesman Jeff Grappone wrote yesterday in an email.

New Hampshire’s two newly elected Democratic congresswomen, Reps.-elect Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster, both said they support a renewed federal ban on assault weapons. And Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan said state lawmakers must work together to address the issues of mental health and assault weapons, though fellow Democrat Steve Shurtleff of Penacook, the new House majority leader, said he believes significant gun-control legislation is more likely to come at the federal level.

The issue of gun control took on new prominence after Friday morning, when a 20-year-old man armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle murdered 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. During a vigil in the town Sunday, President Obama said the nation must do more to prevent such mass shootings, though the White House hasn’t announced any specific measures.

In the new year, Congress will likely consider legislation that would ban assault-style semiautomatic weapons, which were outlawed in 1994 but became legal again after that ban expired in 2004. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said Sunday she would introduce a bill to ban assault weapons as well as ammunition clips or drums carrying more than 10 rounds.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia yesterday indicated they would be open to new gun-control legislation. All three Democrats have typically opposed restrictions on gun ownership.

Joining a chorus of Democratic officials calling for a ban on assault weapons was Shaheen. Despite earning an “F” rating from the NRA during her unsuccessful 2002 and successful 2008 campaigns for the Senate, Shaheen hasn’t been vocal on the issue of gun control.

“After a heartbroken weekend where the nation grieved with the families of Newtown, it’s time for elected leaders to come together and determine what we can do to help end the culture of violence that is leading to these tragedies,” Shaheen said yesterday in a statement. “We need a comprehensive approach that includes improving access to mental health services, better enforcement of our current laws, and we need to get deadly assault weapons off our streets.”

Ayotte has an “A” rating from the NRA. The former attorney general was a vocal supporter of gun rights when she ran for the Senate in 2010, declaring in one campaign statement that “gun owner rights are constantly threatened in Washington by anti-gun liberals.”

In 2009, she was one of 23 state attorneys general who signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder opposing any reinstatement of the 1994 assault-weapons law that banned specific models of military-style semiautomatic guns.

“As attorneys general, we are committed to defending our constituents’ constitutional rights – including their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms,” the letter stated.

Grappone, Ayotte’s spokesman, didn’t directly respond yesterday to questions about Feinstein’s proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Feinstein said similar legislation will be introduced in the House, where it seems likely to gain support from Shea-Porter and Kuster, who will take office next month.

In an interview yesterday, Shea-Porter said people have the right to defend themselves and hunt for sport or food. But, she said, she favors outlawing assault weapons and high-magazine clips, and requiring background checks for people purchasing firearms at gun shows.

“I absolutely plan to support a bill to establish responsible gun-safety laws,” Shea-Porter said. “I think it’s long overdue.”

She also said she supports a push for more public awareness and assistance on mental-health issues and “some kind of voluntary effort to control the amount of violence” on television and other entertainment media.

Kuster, in a statement, said she believes “we can and must respect the Second Amendment while also doing more to protect our children, our families and our communities. I am eager to partner with law enforcement and members of Congress to pursue common sense reforms that keep guns out of the wrong hands, rid our streets of assault weapons and keep our communities safe.”

State action?

Hassan, who will replace Gov. John Lynch on Jan. 3, has indicated she’d be open to a state ban on assault weapons.

“I certainty don’t think people use assault-style weapons to hunt or in their homes, so I do think it makes sense to look at common-sense gun-safety provisions, and that would be one of them,” she told WMUR during the fall campaign.

But in a statement yesterday, Hassan stopped short of explicitly calling for such a ban.

“While we continue to learn more facts about the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, we owe it to those we’ve lost to come together and determine what can be done to make our communities safer and better, including improving our mental health system and addressing the proliferation of deadly assault weapons,” she said.

Shurtleff, the House majority leader and a former chairman of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said the Legislature will take up gun-related bills next year. For example, he said he’s filed a bill to repeal New Hampshire’s “stand-your-ground” law, a 2011 measure expanding the legal use of deadly force by civilians acting in self-defense.

But, Shurtleff said, “I think the majority of things to come forward will be done in Washington.”

State Rep. JR Hoell, a Dunbarton Republican and vocal advocate for gun rights, has filed a bill for next year that would lift the state’s licensing requirement for carrying a concealed weapon, a policy known as “constitutional carry.” A similar bill passed the House last year but was tabled in the Senate; since then, Democrats gained seats in the Senate and took control of the House.

Hoell said yesterday that he doesn’t know whether the House will take action in the coming session in response to the Newtown tragedy. But, he said, the solution isn’t to further restrict guns.

“Almost universally, every shooting that has taken place in the last 20 years has taken place in a gun-free zone. That’s the problem,” he said.

Hoell added, “We need to be more proactive about protecting children. We’re not going to do it by taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.”

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

it is kinda cute that the CM is so so so afraid to post comments from little old me

Annie Kuster, Shaheen and Shea Porter all, whose congressional seats were bought and paid for by NARAL, are now concerned about violence against children?

Is Ayotte too lazy to review these laws herself, or, at the very least, have her staff perform this seemingly simple endeavor? In simpler terms, why was this twit elected?

FAST & FURIOUS says it all - GOOGLE IT - How did the Atty General do reviewing the Obama admin selling guns to Mexicans that killed American Border Patrol agents

Sign this petition because we need to convince Senator Ayotte to vote for an assault weapon's ban, which she currently opposes. Tell everyone you know to sign. Thank you. http://www.change.org/petitions/kelly-ayotte-make-assault-weapons-illegal? utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created

My support of the NRA's position on the 2nd amendment is now wavering. The laws of averages say the more guns out there in the hands of responsible gun owners, the more will be stolen or left unlocked and end up in the wrong hands. If you have a gun for personal protection, who keeps it locked up 24 hours a day? Most gun owners may be responsible, but it only takes a few to drop their guard to allow a disaster. And I see no reason why the average person needs access to semi-automatic weapons. A defensive pistol owner is no match for the shower of bullets from a semi-automatic. Make the owner liable for it's misuse if they cannot prove it was locked up responsibly.

In the 60's because of the assiinations the Dems were calling for the banning of all guns. Yet we assume that they are capable of putting together a comprehensive gun bill? Most likely their bill will be one that will be bogged down with endless debates and lead nowhere. We know that according to the Left all guns are the cause of problems. They never cite illegal guns, the breakdown of family, or mental illness be diagnosed at younger and younger ages. Drug our kids as opposed to cutting out bad diets, getting them away from video games that show them how to shoot off someone's head, and what about all those dads that are not in their kid's lives. The Left always goes to the idea that it is always one thing that lead up to a problem. Our schools are failing because we have not thrown enough money at them, folks are depressed because they get paid slave wages, and the wealthy and sucessful are mean. Hunters are mean, they kill Bambi. Yet it is better to have overpopulations and the animals die from hunger. Problems are almost always complex and are a result of many factors. The question to be asked should be why do we have so many angry young men? Young women are outpacing them in college admissions etc. We are giving our boys the wrong messages evidently.

STOP USING THEE TERMS "ASSAULT RIFLE" AND "ASSAULT WEAPON!!!!" Heck, I don't see the need for 30+ round mags and AR-style rifles for non-military and non-law enforcement personnel. But at least I know how to define my terms. I've heard so much misinformation and flat out lies in the media over the past few days it makes my head spin.

He used a Glock as well which is not an assault weapon, right? Unfortunately, the extremists see any gun as an "assault" weapon. Technically, none of the weapons used were "assault" weapons. Hunter, you are correct but you can't convince the certain opinions of those who overreact.

Is not any weapon used to assault other humans with intent to take their lives technically an assault weapon? Hell, intentionally running over someone with you car is using it as an assault weapon. Bashing someone over the head with a crowbar is using it as an assault weapon. And you are arguing that using a machine specifically designed for killing living things by piercing their flesh with projectiles fired at a rapid pace is not an assault weapon? And enough with the mental illness crap! The common key here is the gun, not the illness. After all, how much damage could this guy have done with his fists?

Would you prefer “semi-automatic kiddie-killer”? Seriously, Dan: What would be your quibble with the following Wikipedia definition? Assault rifles vs. Assault weapons In United States politics and law, an assault weapon is a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military firearms, including assault rifles. The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired on September 13, 2004, codified the definition of an assault weapon. It defined the rifle type of assault weapon as a semiautomatic firearm with the ability to accept a detachable magazine and two or more of the following: * a folding or telescoping stock * a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon * a bayonet mount * a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor * a grenade launcher The assault weapons ban did not restrict weapons capable of fully automatic fire, such as assault rifles and machine guns, which have been continuously and heavily regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934 was passed. Subsequent laws such as the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 also affected the importation and civilian ownership of fully automatic firearms, the latter fully prohibiting sales of newly manufactured machine guns to non-law enforcement or SOT (special occupational taxpayer) dealers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_rifle

Well, apparently YOU understand that "assault weapons" aren't "automatic" weapons because you looked it up on wikipedia - good for you! But why then have I heard "assault weapons" referred to as "automatic" weapons SEVERAL TIMES on VARIOUS TV and Radio programs lately? It's a sign that the media has no clue what they're talking about regarding this topic - and they don't care.

Welcome to the world of the typical Fox News viewer, Dan.

Why are we not surprised the Ayotte would be opposed to something that would protect and be good for the people of NH? She does not represent the people, but instead she represents anyone who gives her the opportunity to get her picture in the paper and will contribute to her next campaign. She is an embarrassment to the state and the nation.

PilgrimFather - are YOU embarassed that Connecticut has EXACTLY the same (so-called) "assault" weapons ban that was in force nationally from 1994 to 2004? Are YOU embarrassed that that law (together with MORE THAN twenty THOUSAND other gun laws) did not "...protect or be good for..." ANY of the victims last Friday? My bet is you are not smart enough to understand that gun laws do NOT stop criminals. After all "father" - it IS against the law to murder children - right? Why is it that every time something awful is done by a criminal, the Marxists (aka Democrat Party) wants to disarm the law abiding?

His mother was law abiding. Look at whats left of her face now! BTW, why can't I protect myself with a machine gun, RPG or bazooka... or carry one on an airplane to protect myself against another would-be terrorist? After all (according to your logic) ain't this my God-given right for self protection as the 2nd (is so quaint with its well regulated militia crap?)

His mother was an IDIOT! She KNEW her kid had some mental health issues and DID NOTHING. She thought it was ok to give him access to all sorts of weapons he had no business being around due to his mental state. I feel sorry for the children and the teachers who died - and their families. I don't feel sorry for the mother.

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