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Letter: A disingenuous argument from Ayotte

Re “I voted to improve background check system” (Monitor Forum, May 7):

I finally figured out why Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s column seemed so disingenuous, though it took a while.

Ayotte presents the legislation she voted for as if it were on equal footing with the Manchin-Toomey proposal. It is not. It is an amendment to the Manchin-Toomey bill, which sought to expand background checks for gun purchases, with legislation that did not create background checks.

I’m all for improving the current background check system as the senator urges, but this system can’t track what it doesn’t measure: gun sales for which no background checks are currently required. Ayotte’s bill would have included mental health records in the database (not a bad idea), provided funds for studying the causes of mass shootings (sounds like a waste of time and money to me, as these are pretty clear already), and ensured “Second Amendment protections for veterans” (how can they not already have them?), but it would not have expanded background checks. Oh, and this amendment was not accepted.

So basically, Sen. Ayotte, you voted for something that wouldn’t have done anything to solve the problem and didn’t pass anyway, instead of voting for something that might have made a difference in making our homes, schools, and businesses safer? And you are trying to convince me that this should make me think better of you?

With all due respect to a sitting senator, you are going to have to do a bit better than that.



Legacy Comments2

TCB: According to Wikipedia, Switzerland has a per capita gun ownership rate of slightly more than half that of the United States, which has the highest rate by a huge margin. The gun-related death rate in the U.S. is approximately 2.5 times that of Switzerland, again per capita. The rate of gun violence in the United Kingdom is forty times lower than in the United States, where gun ownership is very highly regulated and uncommon. While it is not perfect, there is a strong correlation between "less guns" and "less violence." We do not have a "gazillion previous laws" - we have relatively few, and I agree that the ones we have are not effectively preventing gun violence. I know that criminals won't obey laws - that is why they are criminals, but this is not a reason not to have laws. It is hard to find statistics on knife violence, but roughly 50% more people die in the U.S. every year from gun violence than are involved in the total number of stabbings in the UK on a yearly basis, based on data from Wikipedia and The Guardian (a major UK newspaper). I am not aware of "mass stabbings" being a significant crime statistic in the United States, though they have recently been reported in China, which has a gun ownership rate about 17 times lower than the U.S. I am not sure where you found your data on knife violence in the U.S. - the only statistics I could find were on sites supporting gun ownership, which I would consider less reliable than Wikipedia. Is it perhaps possible that if our country were not awash in guns that criminals would have a harder time obtaining them? Might it be a good idea to make it harder for criminals to get guns? Might it be a good idea to check on whether or not someone has a criminal or mental health record before they legally purchase a gun? I think that in our current circumstances these would count as "new" ideas, and I for one would like to find out if they would be more effective than "mere political posturing."

John, So what's your proposal? Gun laws of all sizes and flavors are enforce around the country; would you say they are working? Why does Switzerland, with guns in every house, enjoy a less violent society? Why will new gun inhibit criminmal/crim insane in some new magical way than the gazillion previous laws have not? (Criminal didn't obey those laws and by definitioin, would be influenced by more of the same? How will any of these"gun laws" after operational 3-d manufactured weappons fromsomeone's garage? How wouldn these alws affected mass stabbings (more murders in US by knvies than guns) It not about technology - Its about violent behavior. There is much we can do but repeating what hasn't worked is mere political posturing.

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