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At Tilton town hall, Kelly Ayotte finds support, protests of background-checks vote

  • U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte held a town hall at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte held a town hall at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Erica Lafferty, daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, walks out of the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. <br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Erica Lafferty, daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, walks out of the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte held a town hall at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte held a town hall at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Erica Lafferty, daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, walks out of the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. <br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Erica Lafferty, daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, walks out of the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte held a town hall at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Erica Lafferty, daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, walks out of the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. <br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte held a town hall at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Erica Lafferty, daughter of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, walks out of the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium during a town hall with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. <br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte found both supporters and opponents at a town hall-style meeting yesterday in Tilton – including a small group of protesters who, upset over her vote two weeks ago against expanded background checks, briefly interrupted her remarks.

It was the New Hampshire Republican’s second town hall of the day, following a similar event in Warren. At both, the issue of gun control was front and center.

On April 17, Ayotte joined most Republicans and a few Democrats to block legislation in the U.S. Senate that would have required a background check to buy firearms online or at a gun show. She’s taken criticism for that vote, since polls showed strong support in New Hampshire for some expansion of background checks.

Instead, Ayotte supported an alternative proposal that would have, among other things, reformed the background checks system but not expanded such checks. It too was blocked.

“I felt that this piece that I did support, which was bipartisan, addressed the issues that we should be addressing right now, which are making sure that we improve and enhance our background checks system . . . making sure we were enhancing resources for prosecution of gun crimes” and addressing “very significant deficiencies in our mental health system,” Ayotte said yesterday in Tilton.

The crowd of about 250 in the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium seemed mostly supportive of Ayotte, applauding frequently, including after a man thanked her for her vote against the background checks legislation.

But nearly an hour into the event, a woman interrupted her as she was speaking about gun control and related issues.

“Excuse me, let the senator finish, please. . . . Okay, okay, okay,” said state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican who moderated the event.

“It’s not okay. She voted no,” a man shouted, as two other protesters held up signs, including one that read, “Background Checks Save Lives.”

One of the protesters was Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, a liberal group that has been organizing protests of Ayotte in the wake of her vote.

“We want her to know that people are concerned about it. . . . This is really something that people really are concerned about and feel passionate about,” Rice Hawkins said after the event.

In the crowd was Erica Lafferty, whose mother, Dawn Hochsprung, was among the six adults and 20 first-graders killed in the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Lafferty had spoken with Ayotte at the earlier Warren event, and she walked out during the Tilton event in apparent frustration.

Ayotte took a dozen questions in Tilton from people who wrote their name and a topic on cards. She discussed taxation, Social Security, the attack last September on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, and other issues.

No one was called on to ask about background checks, though one man recognized to ask about the mental health system did also ask about gun control.

Bradley said many questions were submitted on guns, both supportive and critical of Ayotte’s position, but he decided to select questions on other topics since she had addressed the issue at the beginning of the event.

“I felt that she had answered the question on what her position was, and I was trying to play fair to everybody that was in the room and get a broad range of questions,” Bradley said.

About three dozen gun control supporters protested outside the building before the event, carrying signs reading, “Our Kids Deserve Better” and “NH Stands with Sandy Hook.” They were joined by about two dozen Ayotte supporters carrying signs including, “We Support Kelly” and “Thank You Kelly.”

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

We are not enforcing the laws we have on the books now. Adding more will accomplish nothing. 19 states have provided fewer than 100 records of individuals that have been disqualified to buy guns based on their mental records. The FBI reported that 71,000 people lied on their background check forms, and since 2009 we have prosecuted 77. If you cannot enforce the laws you have now, what makes anybody think more laws will all of a sudden be enforced?

Don't forget your usual statements Bruce, besides red herring, off topic, one of your favs is about reality if I recall.

Ayotte is not being honest about why she voted against expanded background checks. Her stated reason for voting against the Manchin--Toomey bill is her fear that more expansive background checks would lead to a national gun registry. But the Manchin-Toomey bill expressly ruled out such a registry. She simply lacked the courage to vote against the gun lobby and its absolutist stance on the 2nd Amendment despite the fact a majority of her constituents favor such background checks. Her vote in opposition was a profile in cowardice.

Bravo to Bill Bunker, for an excellent letter in today's CM. We all know what Ayotte voted for in regards to background checks, etc. We also know that the left is using their one item in a bill to push their agenda. They do that by relying on the idea that most folks have no clue what was in this bill. That is a tactic. Notice the left never talks about what is in the bill. Kind of like the president who gave us all the carrotts in regards to the ACA, and just left out the bad points in the ACA. This is what some use car salesmen do, and the guy that use to sell the elixir out of the back of the wagon. Focus on one aspect, and leave out the rest.

It is happening again with the immigration bill and it happened with the gun bill. Why do we need hundreds of pages to reform immigration or background checks. I ask progressives, if we pass a gun bill that was one or two pages or an immigration bill that was five pages, would you support that??????

...and I'm sure Barry's lapdog Jeanne was one of the courageous one's who voted to require my son to get a background check in order for me to gift him a .22 rifle.Please. Would someone start talking about the $3.25/gas and and our trillion dollar annual deficits. Those are the real problems.

Sorry about having to undergo the "hardship" of a background check for a .22. What is this country coming to? You should remind the Newtown parents about those "real problems", which I'm sure would help them to put their losses into proper perspective. BTW: when you adjust that $3.25/gal gas price for inflation, it's little different from the price paid decades ago. http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Gasoline_Inflation.asp And in case you missed it, the deficit is going down.

You don't need 700+ pages to enhance background checks. There was much more hidden in there, similar to Obamacare.

Really? Exactly what was "hidden in there"? The bill continued to permit private party sales; essentially all it did was close the gun show loophole. If you have additional "facts" on the topic, post them. I'm sure Toomey and Manchin would love to hear from you too.

No you don't. The Manchin-Toomey bill was 49 pages long. http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/04/toomey-manchin_gun_amendment_f.html

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is a great American

Restricting large capacity magazines went down 46-54 with 10 Dems siding with the Reps. Banning sem-iautomatic rifles failed 40-60 with 15 Dems against it. So the idea that this is all about Reps is wrong. As usual the left put together a bad bill.

RE: "As usual the left put together a bad bill." Manchin is a conservative Democrat, while Toomey is/was a TP-backed Republican.

Wrong. DiFi was behind the assault weapons ban. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) were behind the magazine bill.

Both bans were removed from the background check measure, before a final vote on the full bill, in hopes of getting the background check through. As usual, you two twins managed to conflate and confuse the issue. The article dealt with Ayotte's failure to support the Manchin-Toomey bill, and the public's response to her vote. Rabbit's comment including: "As usual the left..." was off-topic and amounted to a red herring for the thread.

Yep...I stand corrected Bruce. The left didnt put together a bad bill, they separated one bad bill into 3 bad bills. Thank you for the information.

There is no possible explaination of Ayotte's opposition to the amendment to impose harsher sentencing on convicted gun traffickers. Her opposition, without explaination, clearly indicates what she represents.

Ayotte is emblematic of the lack of leadership in the GOP. Cowardice reigns, covered in a thin veneer of BS. The damage she inflicts on those she is supposed to serve is beginning to manifest.

How can you say that when the biggest coward on the world stage is Obama and as a psychiatrist calling into a radio show I was listening to the other night (no not one that you will try to demonize) talked about personalities and her analysis of Obama was "disingenuous, a con-man".

Hmm...so 90% of the people in attendance did not oppose her vote.

I attended that town hall meeting and 90% definitely did not support her vote. In addition contrary to reports most people in that room were Tilton residents as I am.

"The crowd of about 250 in the Winnisquam Regional High School cafetorium seemed mostly supportive " How do you get 90 % from that? More fuzzy math ?

Well, if what the Monitor has reported about 90% of NH citizens opposing her recent vote on guns was true, you'd expect some real smackdown from the crowd. Not so. The Monitor should now do a story about the poll methodology. Houston, we have a problem.

Not going to see poll methodology explained GWTW. Nor will the CM say when that poll was conducted, how many folks were polled, and how the question ws worded.

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