Daughter of Newtown victim confronts senator
April 30th, 2013
07:39 PM ET
2 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. uqsi

    To pass additional gun laws to regulate law abiding citizens will not stop mass shootings, but encourage more criminals to act violently because they know the citizens cannot defend themselves. If anything, allow guns in schools so teachers can defend students from CRIMINALS not citizens like themselves.

    April 30, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. Beth

    I don't get it. If an overly depressed drunk grabbed a set of car keys (not even his own) and wrecklessly smashed an innocent family to death on their way home from the park, would we be calling for, "Something to be done?" Like, "Background" checks for car purchases? (not that this DUI thug even properly bought a car).

    This type of slaughtering of innocents happens more often with people illegally driving cars than people illegally using guns.

    April 30, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Bryan

    Yes, because expanded background checks would have prevented some nut from shooting his own mother in the face with her legally owned weapons then taking said weapons to the school...

    April 30, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. uqsi

    Tell me more about criminals that obey gun laws?

    April 30, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Fubarack

    I think the daughter is missing the point that Obama's gun bill would have done nothing to help, as it targeted the wrong people.

    April 30, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  6. Sal

    A pox on the whole republican party. We will remember you people in the next election. 

    April 30, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. So...

    90% people. When do 90% of Americans agree on anything? The senators who voted against this legislation ought to be ashamed.

    April 30, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  8. Bill

    The mental health issue is a diversion that the gun lobby uses. Studies show mentally ill do not commit more violent crime than nonmentally ill-it is the opposite. Support common sense gun solutions.

    April 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. ALLuh

    Bought and paid for by the NRA, see the look on her face? Priceless, worthless GOP, what? A simple background check is against your "family values"?

    April 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. American Sheeple

    Too bad about your mom but don't use her as an excuse to infringe on the liberties enjoyed by your fellow Americans.

    April 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  11. johnk

    Guns do not kill people alone it is the crazy ones that use guns to kill. Why so you think guns are a right of the law abiding citizen to own in the constitution? There is a very specific reason for this as it why this right was put into the constitution by the founding fathers. I should not have to tell you why, use your head on this amendment. If you can't figure it out then please do not vote you are to incompetent.

    April 30, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. SalMoanella

    "I'm just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn't as important."

    Maybe because background checks would have and did nothing to prevent the evil in Newtown.

    April 30, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  13. Downtown Sal

    Sen. Kelly Ayotte has blood on her hands. Shame on her and shame on all those who voted down the legislation.

    April 30, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. whatever

    Just imagine when they get the mental health laws and people sue for discrimination against people with disabilities.... Any way you go with gun control it deprives someone of their rights.

    April 30, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Jason B

    Mental health checks? Won't mean squat. I'm sorry, but it won't. Plain and simple. I could be mentally stable and go buy these assault rifles. Doesn't mean I couldn't hand it over or have it stolen by someone mentally unstable. I still haven't heard a single, logical reason why anyone needs an AR-15 type weapon with 30 round clips.

    April 30, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  16. Namenobrt

    My rights > your feelings.
    Statistically insignificant.

    April 30, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. Marley

    You go girl! Stick up for your mama in heaven!

    April 30, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. bhaskar

    Sorry kiddo. Your mom's blood is not as valuable as the contributions from NRA to senators. Capitalism works in funny ways to explain to kids.

    April 30, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. Mentalcase

    I have yet to hear a republican come up with any original idea on how to curb gun violence. All they do is rehash all the same old tired rhetoric like guns don't kill people people kill people and only the criminals will be able to get guns. First of all this is total bull, second how about saying something constructive or coming up with a real idea, Let me see if I can get you started, all guns must be locked in a "certified gun cabinet" while not in your possession and if it is used in a crime and it can be proven you did not secure your gun you hold some responsibility.

    April 30, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    This woman is in a total state of denial. She has taken advantage of our generous welfare system. She and her husband lied about their refugee status because they can go back and forth to Russia as they please. She and her children are arrogant and ignorant they have no sense of gratitude .If she shows up in the US, she should be arrested for theft and sent to jail . There is absolutely nothing salvageable about this family. I do not accept the excuse of being radicalized for their despicable actions. They are adults.They are responsible for the choices they make and the consequences they bear. If they have a problem with our freedoms and liberties they shouldn't be here they should be somewhere living with the Taliban.

    April 30, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. scranton

    This law would not of saved her mother.

    April 30, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. Plumber

    No one should be murdered at any time, it's unfotunate what happened in Sandy Hook. Just as no one has the right to take our guns or the rght to carry. Let's all hope that Blomberg doesn't get into the white house or he will disarm the whole country. He thinks that our rights can be chisled away a little at a time and we should repeal the 2nd amendment.

    April 30, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. Loubies from S.C.

    This is awesome.

    April 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. Dan Jones

    Erica Lafferty either isn't very intelligent or she is dishonest. She makes her emotional and manipulative confrontation knowing that she is using her mothers death in an unfair way. The Senator isn't in a position to tell her how foolish she is being without being seen as being insensitive to this woman's loss. But the truth is that the guns used in Sandy Hook DID go through back ground checks and the law she is so ignorantly pursuing wouldn't have done ANYTHING to prevent her mother's death or any other of the deaths at Sandy Hook.

    April 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. philabias

    if she thinks that was a bad meeting , just imagaine how bad it would be for her if she had voted for the lame bill. and her approate answer to the daughter should have been simple, the exspended back ground checks would not save 1 life and she is chaceing a pipe dream if she believes otherwise. in short what part of shall not be infringed do you stupid people not understand.and i feel sorry for the foolish politician and there families if there are stupid enough to infringe. it took a war and the deaths of hundreds of thousands to gain our rights, and if it takes another 1 to keep them then so be it.

    April 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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