Daughter of Newtown victim confronts senator
April 30th, 2013
07:39 PM ET
5 years ago

Daughter of Newtown victim confronts senator

(CNN) - When Sen. Kelly Ayotte was defending her vote on Tuesday on a recent gun control proposal, she was confronted by the daughter of a victim in the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school massacre.

Speaking at her first town hall event in New Hampshire since the gun vote earlier this month, the Republican senator sought to explain why she voted against a measure that would expand background checks on firearms sales.

But the crowd of gun control advocates and opponents created a tense environment.

At one point, Erica Lafferty, daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, asked Ayotte why she voted against the background check amendment, which was created from a bipartisan compromise but failed to gain the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate.

Lafferty told Ayotte that on the day the senator voted, she said the legislation would be a burden on gun store owners, according to CNN affiliate WMUR. "I'm just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn't as important."

A lone gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook last December, killing 20 children and six educators.

Lafferty was among the Newtown families who traveled to Washington this month to lobby senators to pass tougher gun laws. Only four Republicans voted against their party and in favor of the bipartisan compromise background check measure. One of them, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, was among those who met with Newtown families before the vote.

On the day of the Senate vote, Lafferty told CNN she was disappointed but felt confident that the bill will rebound. Until then, she added, lawmakers will be held accountable.

“The next time there's a mass shooting and they're asked what they did to prevent it, they're going to have to say nothing,” she said.

Taking a soft tone on Tuesday, Ayotte expressed condolences for the loss of Lafferty's mother.

"I think that ultimately when we look at what happened in Sandy Hook we should have a fuller discussion to make sure that doesn't happen again," the senator said. Ayotte argued the current system needed better enforcement.

"Mental health is the one area that I hope we can agree on going forward to work on because that seems to be the overriding issue on the list and that is why I have been trying to work across the aisle on that issue."

- CNN’s Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.

Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Kelly Ayotte • New Hampshire
soundoff (959 Responses)
  1. Matthew

    Thank you Sen. Kelly Ayotte for your common sense vote. Common sense is becoming a super power.

    May 1, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  2. Oklahoma

    Because passing this bill wouldnt have done your mother any good. Even if this was a law already.

    May 1, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  3. JDalco

    The Dems should be ashamed of themselves for pushing these people to the front of this. Using these victims in an outrageous attack on our civil rights is disgusting. The folks that made the gun free zone have blood on their hands, the Senators who stood up for our rights do not. Next time? That will be on the hands of the gun grabbers too. NOT ONE THING in that bill would have prevented Newtown. Face the facts, gun control does not work, it is all about control of us, not the guns. If you would not stand for these rules for voting then they should not stand for guns or any other CIVIL RIGHT! Grow up and deal with life folks, freedom is not safe, but I would rather be free than in a police state like they want.

    May 1, 2013 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  4. Jonas Salk

    While it's sad she lost a loved one, it's even sadder that after losing a loved one, she couldn't be bothered to learn enough about the proposed legislation to realize that it would have done nothing to prevent the loss. Instead of campaigning for mental health reforms that might have had an effect, she's off on a journey of misguided knee jerks.

    May 1, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  5. Jerry

    Sorry for the loss of a loved one. However, PLEASE don't be just one more prop for the misguided Obama agenda.

    May 1, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  6. janice2798

    Ah, don't gun store owners by law have to do background checks already? So where's the extra burden for them? Stupid answer.

    May 1, 2013 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  7. YeahRight

    She should have just been honest and said that "your feelings do not trump the Constitution."

    May 1, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  8. Anonymous


    Their brains vacuumed out;
    their arms and legs pulled off;
    their tiny hearts shredded;
    their little skulls crushed;
    delicate fingers and toes
    just... medical waste.

    Murdered for simply being inconvenient.

    The premeditated, cold blooded murder,
    of innocent and defenseless pre-born babies
    with unique DNA takes place over 3,600 times
    every day in America.

    It's like 911 EVERY DAY !!!
    Just NOT at the same place; at the same time of day.

    We hold these truths to be self evident
    that ALL men are CREATED equal endowed
    by their creator with the right to LIFE.

    Exactly WHY SHOULD God bless America???

    Planned Parenthood is here to stay !!!
    "I" will spend as much working TAX PAYER
    money as "I" need to to make sure !!!

    FORWARD >>> >>> >>>
    Save the Children

    May 1, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  9. boogieman7167

    these bought & paid for senators that voted against gun control especially something a simple as a background check . the next time there is a mass shooting . will need to expect some responsibility knowing that they could have done something to prevent it.

    May 1, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  10. eleanor

    Clearly campaign donations from NRA and other gun gungho groups are more valued by many in U.S. House and Senate than the disgaceful number of lives lost by gun violence, terrorism incidents with gun, suicides and accidental injuries from guns in this country, which is becoming a leading causes of death in the U.S. Requiring food suppliers to take measures to make sure our food supply is safe to eat is costly for food suppliers too, but that is not a good reason not to have laws requiring it to protect lives. The same standard should apply to gun shop dealers.

    May 1, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  11. P

    Are you kidding me, we as a society are being used as puppets to push a worthless bill down our throats so a small fraction can say they did something. in the infamous words of Boob Emanuel, "Never let a good tragedy go to waste."

    May 1, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  12. Andrew

    The gun market reacharound in black and white. Kids, the GOP doesn't care if you're safe, they only care if their checks keep coming. Pathetic. Money isn't the lifeblood of politics. It's the nail in the coffin.

    May 1, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Yeah we all should lose our rights because the school failed to provide sufficient security to protect the kids and staff! Ban pressure cookers, rental trucks and the government pumping in thousands of gallons of tear gas into a compound filled with children.

    May 1, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  14. crabman1

    back round checks would not have stopped what happened and never will -- someone looking to do harm dose not care about laws

    May 1, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  15. Diraphe

    The bill failed because it was a meaningless gesture that would have done nothing beyond burden legal gun-owners. The 'expanded' or 'universal' background checks would not have prevented the Tuscon or Aurora shooters from passing their background checks; and it would not have prevented the Conn. shooter from murdering his mother to avoid taking one.

    May 1, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  16. Rosa

    Ayotte is a coward. Boohoo the background check would have caused a minor inconvenience for gun owners. What about the inconvenience on the rest of us of crazies and terrorists having semi automatic weapons.

    May 1, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  17. Marie MD

    The little missy from NH didn't have her boy toys with her. Good for the victim's daughter to confront her but this woman goes the way the repugs blow. Her numbers are down. Let's see if the voters throw her out with yesterday's garbage.
    That bill couldn't be more water down if darth vader had been doing the water boarding himself!

    May 1, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  18. 9z

    Ww e have to do something fast. Because it will happen again.

    May 1, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  19. Guest

    These types of politicians disgust me. Even when she's confronted directly by the results of her shortcomings as a leader, she passes the buck. Too scared for own reelection to do what is right. She and her party have turned common sense into a wedge issue.

    The girl told this politician to say nothing. I'll go further: the politician needs to retire and let someone responsible do the job.

    May 1, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  20. downwithnazis

    Actions have consequences.

    May 1, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  21. The Genius

    Perhaps if one person had the legal, unobstructed right to carry a concealed firearm her mother wouldn't be dead. Liberals apparently believe that nobody should have the right to defend themselves. If liberals choose to be unarmed and defenseless, thats on them. Meanwhile-don't impose it on the rest of us who choose not to be victims.

    May 1, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  22. JCFinley

    I really hope the supporters of the NRA start looking at what they are doing. The Second Amendment is an important part of the American foundation of rights. But it won't be the only amendment that has been adjusted and defined further by the states and federal representatives. Just like shouting fire in a crowded auditorium or theater is not protected neither should be the ownership of military weapons. I would like to know of an instant where an large chambered automatic weapon was necessary for the defense of a home or person. So far what has happened most often is the use of a semi-automatic weapon with a large capacity magazine has been assault against innocent and defenseless individuals with little of no weapons on themselves. That is criminal and indefensible. I am a hunter, gun owner and a veteran with experience with both revolvers and automatic weapons.

    May 1, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  23. John

    BS. This Senator was bought and paid for by the gun lobby, there is no need for "further discussion" on this. Aren't dead children enough?? Barely being out of the toddler age, these children were gunned down due to easily accessible guns, and what do the Senators do?? Vote in favor of the gun lobby and NRA. "Lafferty told Ayotte that on the day the senator voted, she said the legislation would be a burden on gun store owners" , never mind the burden of having your Mother taken out violently and needlessly, eh Senator Lafferty? Your concern was to worry about the extra paperwork and possible loss of tax dollars coming into your pockets. How pathetic.
    How much money did you receive from the gun lobby and NRA you worthless scum? I guess not until one of these Senators OWN family members are victims will they finally react.
    Sickening and disgusted with elected officials.

    May 1, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  24. Chedar

    Get rid of all Senators that support against gun control this coming election 2016. They are all crook getting money from the NRA. Ask them any question that make sense and they don't seem to come up with an answer.

    May 1, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  25. Randy

    In the case of Lanza, the current background check system worked. When he attempted to purchase a rifle from Dick's Sporting Goods, he was denied. The failure was on the part of his mother who allowed her son access to her firearms and perhaps the mental health system. My real issue is the changing title of the issue from "gun control" to "gun safety". The proposals coming from opponents of the 2nd Amendment are not about making guns safer, but less accessible. Under many of the proposals coming from Washington and gun control groups, a .22 LR 15-22 is considered more dangerous than a larger bore revolver. This shows the lack of knowledge that most opponents have about firearms.

    May 1, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
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