EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 30, 2013

Letter: Ayotte wrong on background check vote


If the senator supported banning assault weapons sales, an effective way going forward to keep such guns from the mentally ill, her “A” from the NRA might also be threatened. Look what can happen when the mentally ill, as Adam Lanza likely was, though undiagnosed, get their hands on an assault weapon, legally purchased — in Lanza’s case by his mother, who apparently gave him access.

Why do any civilians need weapons like that, whose only purpose is mass killing and heinous injury? Did you, senator, look at the children slaughtered in a matter of minutes in Newtown, with an assault weapon? Is an assault weapons ban really an infringement on Second Amendment rights? Instead how about supporting the elimination of civilian access to these war weapons? That would be courageous.

Of course, assault weapons do account for only a small percentage of gun deaths in this country — as do those attributed to people with diagnosed mental illness. But reputable numbers are hard to come by, due to gun lobby success restricting government agencies from collecting data on gun death causes. What is known, however, is that 33 Americans die by gun every day. Many of them are killed by criminals, who acquire guns easily through unregulated private sales, either directly or from third parties — another “loophole.”

As with her vote against Toomey-Manchin, the senator’s position on assault weapons reflects the interests of the gun lobby, not the American people.

Thousands of gun deaths would surely be prevented with expanded background checks, an assault weapons ban and other commonsense legislation.

Of course no law can prevent all gun deaths, but shouldn’t our elected representatives support all responsible efforts to diminish the carnage? Sen. Ayotte, when these proposals come up again, I hope you will abandon your reverence for the NRA and listen to the majority of NH citizens — including Republicans and gun owners — who are clearly on record supporting constructive ways, such as the Toomey-Manchin bill, to reduce gun violence

Charlie Zoeller


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