EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

April 19, 2013

Ayotte's vote puts her in the crossfire

Vote against gun reform plan prompts political criticism

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is in the political crossfire after opposing the president on gun control.

Ayotte voted with the majority of senators in rejecting the Obama supported gun reform plan, 54-46, proposed in the aftermath of the Connecticut student slayings last year.

The decision is one of the more controversial for Ayotte, coming midway into her term.

A wide majority of Granite Staters, in polling by New England College this winter, supported an assault weapons ban (72 percent) and universal background checks for gun buyers (88 percent).

Ayotte also broke with her New Hampshire colleague, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who backed the gun control plan.

Actress Mia Farrow and baseball writer Peter Gammons were among those criticizing Ayotte’s decision yesterday on Twitter. So was New Hampshire’s Episcopal bishop, the Rt. Rev. Rob Hirshfeld.

“Kelly Ayotte continues to be the voice and face of the right-wing Tea Party fringe,” New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein said.

Opinions on Ayotte’s Facebook page were split between those dismissing her vote as shameful and gun rights supporters giving Ayotte “likes” for her decision.

Ayotte’s decision came late. She announced her position the day of the Senate vote, so analysts agree people were playing closer attention to her decision.

“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 in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Ayotte said she instead is co-sponsoring legislation to improve the existing background check system, criminalize gun trafficking, and address gaps in the mental health and criminal justice systems.

Spokeswoman Liz Johnson said Ayotte’s office received “many” calls and emails yesterday from people on both sides of the issue.

“Sen. Ayotte has been focused on preventing violence and strengthening mental health while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Johnson said yesterday. “That includes her vote (Wednesday) in favor of the Grassley bill to strengthen reporting requirements and enforcement of the current background system and to boost school safety funding, and her vote (Thursday) for legislation that improves mental health first aid training.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Today in History August 21 Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List
Photos of the Week