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Ayotte’s ‘no’ vote helps defeat background check legislation in U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte cast one of the deciding votes yesterday to sink legislation that would have required background checks for guns bought over the internet or at gun shows.

The New Hampshire Republican was one of 46 senators who voted to block the proposal by West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. It required 60 votes to advance under Senate rules, but only received 54.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, voted for it.

Ayotte was one of the final senators to take a position on the legislation to expand background checks. When she announced yesterday morning she would oppose the proposal, it became clear it wouldn’t pass when the vote came later in the day.

“I believe that restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners will not prevent a deranged individual or criminal from obtaining and misusing firearms to commit violence,” Ayotte said. “While steps must be taken to improve the existing background check system, I will not support the Manchin-Toomey legislation, which I believe would place unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners and allow for potential overreach by the federal government into private gun sales.”

The Manchin-Toomey proposal would have expanded background checks for gun buyers, requiring them for sales made at gun shows and online. Many private sales, such as those between family members, would have remained exempt.

It had been pitched as a compromise measure while Congress debates gun control legislation in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed by a gunman.

“Conducting background checks on individuals seeking to purchase firearms is a matter of common sense and the Manchin-Toomey bill provided a bipartisan framework to help meet that objective,” Shaheen said.

Ayotte instead threw her support behind a Republican alternative, the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. It would, among other things, reform the background check system without expanding checks.

That proposal fell short of the 60-vote threshold, 52-48, as did several other gun control measures yesterday.

In a statement from the White House, President Obama denounced “the gun lobby” and Republican senators for blocking the Manchin-Toomey legislation.

“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics. . . . All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” Obama said.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party blasted Ayotte for her vote against the proposal.

“Instead of supporting this common sense compromise that will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people with mental illness who could be harmful to themselves or others, she is putting the demands of the (National Rifle Association) ahead of the will of the people of New Hampshire,” said party spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

But Ayotte got support from Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, a new conservative group.

“Granite Staters thank her for recognizing the need to address our country’s mental health care system, while also understanding that the expansion of background checks to private sales does not properly address this concern,” said spokesman Derek Dufresne.

He added that the group was “disappointed” by Shaheen’s vote “in favor of an amendment that would seek to increase the reach of the federal government and limit the rights of law-abiding Granite Staters as protected by our Constitution.”

In a recent survey, 91 percent of New Hampshire adults said they support background checks at gun shows, while just 7 percent said they oppose such a requirement. The poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center was taken Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 and had a 4.1 percent margin of error.

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

Legacy Comments29

How do you know if someone is a "law abiding" person unless you actually run a background check? I think Ayotte is not being honest with us. The Universal Background Check was designed to expand the current Federal Background Check system that is already in place. Doing so would have closed the loopholes that allow gun traffickers to sell guns to felons. This bill was lied about by the NRA and the lobbyists for the Gun Lobby. It was a simple measure to enhance our current laws on the books. But tools like Ayotte only vote along the party line. Shameful.

Jonsey, I just purchased two guns, guess what, they ran a background check. Problem solved!!

Itsa, I can't help to comment on your '60 radicals blather. Memories sure get convenient after many years. Lets use the way-back machine here. The sixties radicals as you put it, protested against a wholly unjust and wasteful and almost universally unpopular war in Vietnam. They protested against segregation and the treatment of Negroes, not the PC term of the day, primarily in the South and protested against apartheid in South Africa. So let us check the scorecard - we got out of Vietnam, ended segregation and saw the end of apartheid. We exercised our Constitutional Rights and got things done. So as one of these 60's radicals it seems - radicals 3 and status quo sheep 0. We won - by the way had some dam good times in the process;-). I just have to add not many well placed politicians or the spoiled kids did much in Vietnam, names like Bush and Romney immediately come to mind.

The democrat PROMISE...."Focus like a laser on jobs"

I think the Concord Monitor should conduct another poll. How many people think Obama and the democrats should focus on the economy, jobs and the debt instead of more gun laws. Then every time they don't, we can say they are the ones ignoring the will of the American people.

Gallup poll, shows that only 4 percent of Americans view guns or gun control or immigration reform as a priority for lawmakers. A Gallup poll of 1,005 adults, taken from April 4 – 7, shows that Americans’ top priorities remain the economy and unemployment.

Gallup? You trust Gallup? Now there is your problem right there.

The Obama Record: 34,000 people were caught by the background checks currently in place ........and only 44 prosecuted - FACT

If you cite facts.. you must cite sources. Otherwise, you are just saying nothing.

From NPR (National Progressive Radio)-"Federal data show that in 2010, people lied on federal forms and failed background checks more than 76,000 times. Only 44 of those people were prosecuted, because it is a low priority crime" Low priority? But I thought bill thought that the gun bill was high priority.

Mr Obama's own Justice Department cast doubt on the effectiveness of Manchin-Toomey. In a National Institute of Justice report dated 1/4/2013, Dr G Ridgeway reported that universal background checks would only be effective if there were also a reduction in straw purchases, universal gun registration, universal ammunition logs and an easing of the currently onerous gun transfer process. Additionally, this same report stated that a ban on assault weapons would result in, at best, a negligible reduction in gun violence. This, because of the few crimes (35 reported nationwide), and even fewer homicides, committed using assault weapons.

If you follow progressive logic, Congress must now act to have background checks on knives as a student recently ran around a campus stabbing people. As should we now require background checks on purchasing pressure cookers? Fertilizer? What about fireworks? Matches? Timers? Backpacks? The point is that souless, mentally unstable people will find a way if they want to harm others. New gun laws are an agenda and Newtown was a reason for progressive politicians to push that agenda.

Shame on Senator Ayotte -- she chose to stand with Wayne LaPierre rather than the parents of Newtown.

Kelly Ayotte votes against background checks. John McCain votes for background checks. Who is the real leader yesterday ? You can agonize all you want over the 2nd amendment, but this bill attempts to keep guns out of criminal's hands. Who in their right mind could vote "no" to that ?

key word is ....: attempts" ....... reactionary legislation is never ever good legislation...thank god for the Responsible Republicans

We have laws against murder, yet there are murders. I guess that law only "attempts" to prevent murder. We have laws against drunk driving, yet DWI persists as a problem. I guess that law only "attempts" to prevent DWI. Likewise robbery, burglary, perjury, rape, infinitum, including prohibited persons attempting to purchase firearms. The only thing that human beings and human institutions is to ATTEMPT. The most irresponsible act is to not attempt - like those so-called "Responsible Republicans."

I'm kind of glad this legislation didn't pass. It was not well written (what I did see of it). allowing arbitrary back doors for certain occupations to say "No guns" is bad policy. So I talked to my doctor and told them I was having a bad day. Boom, I'm now on the prohibited list, even though I did nothing wrong. Non-Governmental elimination of the second ammendment. It is illegal for one to possess or use most explosives. Yet someone was able to get ahold of some and cause mayhem and violence in Boston recently, and explosives is a very controlled industry. I'm surprised there are no pundits calling for bans on pressure cookers and black backpacks. Those were responsible for alot of damage recently. Don't blame the NRA for opposing anything that attempts to negate the second ammendment. Without them, we'd be in a bad position as a nation (worse than we already are). Just think if NY's public policy positions on salty foods and sugary soda's took hold nationwide? Then what? That guy you are trying to restrict firearms ownership from, might just be that guy that saves your butt when things finally go to hell.

Not sure what "list" you are talking about. But the only thing a background check involves is your criminal record. Being paranoid seems to be the norm these days for conservatives.

A list of political cowards.... 45 senators who voted against background checks. 1. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 2. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) 3. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) 4. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) 5. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) 6. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) 7. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 8. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) 9. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) 10. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) 11. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) 12. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) 13. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) 14. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) 15. Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) 16. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 17. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) 18. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) 19. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) 20. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 21. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) 22. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 23. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) 24. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) 25. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) 26. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) 27. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) 28. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) 29. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) 30. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 31. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 32. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) 33. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 34. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) 35. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 36. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) 37. Sen. James Risch (R-ID) 38. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) 39. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 40. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) 41. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 42. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) 43. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) 44. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) 45. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Each a profile in cowardice, afraid to stand up against the NRA and the far right.

Each a profile in bravery and each has an understanding of the second amendment. Unlike armchair commenters who could care less about the constitution, what is stands for and who are only interested in destroying this country from within. 60's radicals who never really matured, grew up, etc but are Hell bent on 'fundamentally changing" this country into their Utopian vision. You lack understanding of American history, American exceptionalism and your cynical nature call out all of the flaws but none of the great things about this country.

Talk about out of touch. Your bravery is my cowardice. The only people that have anything to fear from a background check are either total paranoid conspiracy nuts or criminals. Which just begs for an answer for my next questio........................ You want to talk about a joke and the power of the Neanderthal Rifle Ass'n. The paper background forms that people presently fill out, oh the trauma of having to check all those no boxes, are not allowed by NRA sponsored legislation to be computerized they only exist on microfiche. Talk about a slap in face to common sense.

Thank you for that list of principled HEROES who understand the danger of extremists who want to strip the majority of their rights.

What was in the bill needs to be discussed. Folks who are anti gun never discuss what is in the bill. What did that bill do to reel in folks with mental illness from getting guns? Basically it gave doctors the power to decide if you should own a gun. And I am not talking about shrinks. Any doctor could put you on the list without your knowledge. There were too many loopholes in it for rural areas. As usual, a bad bill that fixes nothing.

Another in a long line of CM Editorials that slants the facts to fit their agenda. A true reporting would have mentioned the bi-partisan make up of the No votes that included democrat Senate Majority leader Reid

If there is an upside to a $16 trillion dollar debt, the status quo of bribing legislators with pork for votes has stopped. According to Politico, “Bribery isn’t what it once was,” The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”

Bribery may be dead, but extortion appears to be alive and well. This was a day of shame for the Senate, which abandoned common sense and its responsibilities out of fear of what a powerful manufacturers' lobbying group, the NRA, would do to members' electoral chances during the next cycle. A real victory for the lunatic fringe in this country. The rest of us, not so much.

A Senator has but one duty. Uphold the Constitution. Thats it.

There was a time when the U.S. Senate was populated with statesmen/women. It takes Senator Ayotte a half page to provide a failed explanation for her no vote on background checks for people buying guns at gun shows and over the internet. Senator Ayotte is beholden to a very special interest and disregarded the vast majority of citizens in the great state of New Hampshire. I am doing no one's bidding here but my own. There is but one simple question I would ask of Senator Ayotte. Did your vote represent the views of your constituents? Yes or No. Thank you for the privilege of writing in your newspaper. Sincerely, Ralph Braseth, Chicago, Independent, Second Amendment Supporter

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