The debate over gun legislation (and Ayotte) continues
The Monitor continues to get mail on gun-control legislation, as well as Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s position on the issue. Here’s a sampling of local opinion:
soft on crime?
Sen. Kelly Ayotte ran for office on her record as a prosecutor but I am beginning to wonder if she is soft on crime. Many have written concerning her opposition to expanding background checks for gun purchases, so I will concentrate on other topics.
We learned in the Boston Marathon bombing that it is physically possible to put a taggant in gunpowder so it can potentially be traced in the aftermath of a bombing. We also learned that Congress at the behest of the NRA has forbidden the taggant to be placed in the gunpowder. Does Ayotte think there is a Second Amendment right to make and keep bombs?
There was also an explosion in the town of West, Texas, which killed and injured more people than the marathon bombing. We have learned from this incident that the responsibility for regulating small chemical plants has been given to the Department of Homeland Security, which has no resources to do so. We have learned that this plant had a very large pile of bomb-making material and Homeland Security did not even know the plant existed.
Ayotte has made no comments aimed at investigating and correcting this. Why not?
An April 21 column by Grant Bosse claimed that gun control has never worked (“The Senate sticks to its guns,” Sunday Monitor Viewpoints). It took a comedy show (The Daily Show) to offer serious coverage of Australia’s reduction in mass shootings and gun violence from the installation of national gun control by a conservative government.
Proud of Ayotte
Since April 17 the majority of the letters published by the Monitor have been politically motivated hack jobs on Sen. Kelly Ayotte for standing up for what she believes and voting against the Manchin Amendment.
I find it strange that nothing has been written regarding the fact that less than 30 minutes later, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen voted against the Grassley Amendment, designed to improve availability of records to the national instant criminal background check system, making it harder for persons with criminal records to obtain firearms, address mental illness in the criminal justice system and end straw purchases and trafficking of illegal firearms. No one seems to want to question Shaheen’s vote, or give Ayotte credit for voting for it.
Honestly, folks, if your goal is keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, you have to be just as upset over one vote as the other. Unless, of course, you’re wearing party-line blinders.
Everyone has forgotten that six days earlier Ayotte crossed party lines, voted for and helped pass the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act which ensures all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background system and requires a background check on every firearm sale.
Kelly, let not your heart be weary! Many of us are still very proud of you.
Thank you, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, for casting an intelligent vote instead of an emotional one.
We already have a background check for guns in place. It covers felons and mentally impaired people. All that needs to happen is for the people responsible for sending the information to the database to do just that. Send the information. Keep it updated. It is a felony for a felon to attempt to purchase a firearm. Tens of thousands are rejected, yet only a handful are ever prosecuted. If you cannot bring these felons to trial now and get them off the street, what is adding more gun laws going to do?
Many people have been led to believe that gun legislation will make a difference. That it’s just common sense. It’s not. It’s nonsense. It will not save even one life, young or old. It has never been “gun violence” – guns are incapable of violence. People do that.
It’s good to have a heart. It’s good to have emotion. But when you are making laws to try to keep more people safe, you must at least address the real problem. The problem is violent people. Passing more gun laws is like doing nothing. Do something.
ROGER A. FORCIER
Re “The U.S. Senate sticks to its guns” (Grant Bosse, Sunday Monitor Viewpoints, April 21):
Francine Wheeler and the other parents whose children were massacred by a murderer using an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School have become eloquent and persuasive proponents for enacting common-sense measures regarding guns. They’ve courageously helped bring the American people together, with more than 90 percent now supporting expanded background checks for gun purchases. President Obama champions their cause and should be commended, not criticized, for giving family members of the “Sandy Hook Promise” organization a national platform favoring gun reform legislation. This enrages reactionaries like Rush Limbaugh, Sen. Rand Paul and local right-wingers such as Grant Bosse, who are very offended that the Sandy Hook victims of gun violence dare to express a perspective contrary to their own.
The FBI’s background checks are effective –1.8 million applications for firearms transfers or permits were denied between 1994 and 2008 – but loopholes must be closed. The U.S. attorney general’s office found that the assault weapons ban succeeded in lowering the criminal use of these guns in several cities by between 17 and 72 percent. The police report that since the 2004 expiration of this law there’s been an increase in criminals using assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
Current law inadequately addresses gun trafficking as “straw purchasers” ship a flood of assault weapons from American gun dealers into Mexico, arming the drug cartels who’ve murdered thousands of innocent people. This carnage, both foreign and domestic, has to stop.
JOHN S. HANCOCK
Guns and money
Concerning Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s posture on gun control legislation: I think we are overlooking the big picture that the National Rifle Association is heavily supported monetarily by gun manufacturers. Last election almost $45 million was given in support of Republican candidates. That is why the GOP supports the NRA. In order to get this kind of support, they must vote as one. From there, we get our trickle-down support.
Back to Ayotte: Which would you rather have, a small portion of NRA money or voter support? You cannot buy my vote. Ironically, you as our former attorney general, of all people, should support efforts to keep guns out of hands of bad guys.
Then, of course, we have local police clubs raffling off guns to raise money – guns supplied by New Hampshire gun manufacturers. Shame on you.
I drove more than an hour to attend Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s town hall in Warren on Tuesday. I wanted to ask about her vote against gun regulations favored by more than 80 percent of New Hampshire voters.
The senator arrived at noon. She gave a 35-minute PowerPoint presentation on her activities and acknowledged that many people were there because of her pro-gun vote. Then it was announced that she had to depart at 1 p.m., leaving about 20 minutes for questions from the crowd, which exceeded 100 people.
Each person who wanted to speak filled out a ticket with name and topic of question. An Ayotte staffer told me there were more than 60 completed tickets. Of these, approximately 10 lucky individuals, who seemed to be cherry-picked by Ayotte handlers to avoid difficult questions, were allowed to speak. Then the questions were cut off and the senator left. At one point the crowd insisted that Ayotte take a question from Erica Lafferty, daughter of the slain principal of Sandy Hook Elementary.
So, when is a town hall meeting not a town hall meeting? When it is a sham.
Is Ayotte afraid of honest questions from honest people? If not, she should plan enough time at her events for real dialogue, not phony-baloney. Tuesday’s event was an insult to the public.
From Ayotte, a hollow promise
Several of us had the opportunity to meet and stand with a courageous young woman Tuesday: Erica Lafferty, the surviving daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung. We were attending Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s town hall meeting in Tilton, but Lafferty, above all, had an extremely personal reason to do so, given Ayotte’s recent vote on background checks.
Unfortunately, Ayotte was there to deliver her message rather than listen to the citizens in the room. In fact, state Sen. Jeb Bradley admitted he had weeded out those audience questions on gun control, saying “she answered in great depth at the beginning of her town hall (and) talked about her vote on guns. . . . She addressed it.”
Ayotte “talked about her vote on guns” by using her own PowerPoint slide show, not in response to her audience. She came in and left by a side door so she didn’t see the numerous signs, on both sides of the background-check issue, seeking to catch her attention at the front door.
Bradley remarked that Ayotte was fulfilling her promise to hold town meetings regularly throughout the state. What a hollow promise! An hour-long meeting with 40 minutes taken up by a slide show leaving 20 minutes for (prescreened) questions does not meet most definitions of open availability by an elected official.
Ayotte’s slick slide-show presentation and avoidance of the elephant in the room was a disappointment and a dereliction of her duty to her constituents. She should be reminded that she serves all the people of New Hampshire, not just those who voted her into office.