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. TiredoftheBS

    Mogran, Bridget crawl back in your holes with the other 10% of this country that is opposed to full background check for all gun purchases. Time will prove you and that small minority of idiots are on the wrong side of history. And BTW using distrust of the CIC to not go further than background checks is more BS. Congress and Senate make the laws in this country you uneducated hypocrites.

    May 1, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. nomad2003

    that bill would have done nothing to stop Newtown or the other mass shootings.
    Have your state handle it. Florida has background checks when purchasing any gun from any dealer at any place, even if you have a CWP, which finger prints, course work and background check.

    May 1, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Slim

    1) Contrary to what Mr. Obama says all internet sales via online dealers ship to a local FFL Dealer who then conducts the background check before you can take possession of the weapon. Actually they won't even ship to the FFL until the FFL reaches out to the other dealer to confirm. Also gun purchases at every gun show I've ever been to culminate with a bunch of paperwork and live background check (think 45mins+) before you can take possession of the weapon. I haven't read the text of toomey/machin but I kind of wonder what they suggest to do differently. Maybe it focused on in-state private sales, but regardless the marketing or post-marketing of the bill (see our President speaking) stated that no background checks on the internet or gun shows were the issue...clearly we have those so I'm at a loss.

    2) None of this would be stopped Newtown. Similarly, strict Chicago gun laws aren't helping their gun murder rate either. Bad people do bad things, even with standard kitchen equipment like the Boston Marathon.

    3) The AR-15 is a minimal caliber rifle. It's considered inhumane to hunt deer with it in many states (and for city people, deer are smaller than humans). That said it is a lot more effective than a pistol (due to speed not bullet size as pistol rounds are multiple the size/weight), is easy to control recoil for smaller people or women, does not madly spray like buckshot from a shotgun, and has FAR FAR better over-penetration characteristics than a shotgun or pistol meaning it has less of a chance of going through exterior walls and causing collateral damage to innocents. These are reasons why police have been adopting this weapon (called a "patrol rifle" by Mr. Bloomberg when referring to them but assault weapon in anyone's hands who doesn't report to him) but it is an absolutely excellent choice for a home or defensive weapon for all of these reasons. Actually, it is very hard to argue a shotgun or pistol is better unless one won't have both hands (pistol) or is simply more used to a shotgun. For the record, most rifles have longer range and larger caliber making them significantly MORE deadly than the AR-15 both on targets and innocents in the area. I realize people don't read this in the news...if you are smart, you would ask why that is and maybe think that our government having made a mess of housing, pensions, taxes, banking, employment and student loans should focus a bit more on better management of their core responsibilities and for now back off a bit on areas in which they are explicitly not allowed to "infringe" by charter.

    May 1, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. David

    So all the experts said that nothing that was proposed would of stopped this evil up there, but people are still venting saying we should change stuff, what should of changed was a mother taking responsibility for her actions, but she's dead so she can't She paid the ultimate price for her lack of judgement. Why should everybody else pay the price now because you feel 1 way, we'll guess what i don't feel that way so who is right. your right in your opinion and I'm right in my opinion. Saying she's a NRA lackey is BS, that what the liberal folks do, they don't' get there way and the start the name calling. This is a free country still even though our rights our slowly be eroded by people who feel the government knows better. But until them i will fight for my rights.

    May 1, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Marc L from NY

    If a criminal goes to a gun store, tries to purchase a weapon and is denied, then goes and breaks into a house and steals some or buys the weapons on the street, then goes and commits horrible crimes, is it the law's fault for not preventing this, gun's fault for being in existence, or the person who did this?

    May 1, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Bobpitt

    @massud.. just wait... the question will be asked and there will be a price to pay, gun safety has to be at the top of the agenda...

    May 1, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Yon

    The bill would have done Absolutly NOTHING to prevent the same thing from happening again. Adam was denied guns, his mom had no past of mental issues. She would have bought the guns after that legislation and Adam would have done the same thing. If you want to make gun owners responsible for the crimes their weapons are involved in. Fine, but the rest of this is just BS hype, that has nothing to do with what happened.

    May 1, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Chris

    Using kids to sway votes and pressure people into votes? You people make me sick. If you think it's ok to pass laws because a few people died I have news for you...it isn't. That's fine...no matter what I have my weapons and IF things hit the fan I'm sure you'll wish you had them too.

    May 1, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. codarnall

    Why are all congress folks surrounded my gut toting people?

    May 1, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Ned Johnson

    Blah Blah Blah. More solutions I see. NOT!

    May 1, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Get over it!!

    @irunner

    Hey "Get over it"! You have 4 more years of Obama. YOU Lost!
    ___________________________________________________

    And you have a LIFETIME of guns be present everywhere you go, whether you know it or not they are there!!! LOL

    May 1, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Annonymouse

    What I don't get is why people are making such a HUGE deal about background check laws. The kid from Sandy Hook didn't PURCHASE a gun, he stole it. And the kids from Columbine didn't purchase their guns from a "reputable" store either. You can't control what the idiots out there do. I agree with harsher background checks, but seriously, it's not about purchasing the guns. At some point our country needs to stop worrying about democrat and republican and needs to start focusing on the greater good of America as a whole!

    May 1, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Aaron

    "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" spoken like a true politician.

    May 1, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Padraig

    Reading the comments are interesting (reference SokrMom, John Lubeck) their mentality is frightening. They are so engrained in "it does not matter vote the Republican vermin out". Talk about the early Darwinian individuals.

    The following Democrats voted against this – Mark Pryor, Jim Baucus, Heidi Heitkamp, Mark Begich, and the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid was interesting, he voted no only to be able to preserve his abiltiy to bring this amendment up again. So go against your priniciples Senator Reid. You are a model for standing up for what you believe. So to the Democrats – why aren't you attacking these people? Because you are hypocrtes...

    There were four Replicans who voted yes – John McCain, Susan Collins, Pat Toomey (co founder of the amendement), and Mark Kirk.

    There should be a tougher scrutiny process to buy a weapon but many of you are to narrow minded to be able to sit down and logically think this out and discuss it.

    May 1, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Ol' Yeller

    @ dreg
    "Why aren't the conservatives using the gosnell baby murder case to push their agenda? Because they aren't sneaky and don't grandstand with the media..."
    Hahahahahaahahaahahahaahahahaahahaahaaha... heehee,... hahahahahahaahahaaha, stop, you're killing me.. !! Hahahahaah..hehe, ha, .... Oh, you are serious. Sorry man, thought you knew the conservatives are the only party with their own network which 100% of the time is used for 'grandstanding' on behalf of the 'conservative' (another belly laugh) party.

    May 1, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Get over it!!

    @jboh

    Hey, GET OVER IT, how many times has the TEA/GOP spent 4-5 million of tax-payers $ voting on repeal of Healthcare Reform? You lost in Congress, the lat election, and before the Supreme Court. Get over it TEA swiller.
    _________________________________________________________________________________
    First off I am not a tea bagger and second I am not even a republican but I do care about my rights to CHOOSE what I want as an individual and as I said before to someone else you are going to have GUNs around you for a LIFETIME, get over it!!! LOL

    May 1, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Joel

    Punishing me and other law abiding citizens for what a madman did will not bring your loved ones back you spiteful jerks. That's the problem, bad things happen to good people. They can't punish Lanza so they need to punish someone, even if it's nonsensical. An "eye for an eye" leaves everyone blind.

    May 1, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Chris wrote:

    Using kids to sway votes and pressure people into votes? You people make me sick. If you think it's ok to pass laws because a few people died I have news for you...it isn't.
    --------------------------------
    No one is using kids. Background checks would have stopped the Virginia Tech shooting, along with several others. No one claims that background checks would have stopped the Newtown shootings, except the right wing.

    May 1, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. FLIndependent

    @Peoples State of Illinois

    @Boomer in Mo-By the way, I own a bunch of guns. A background check for the right to own guns because I'm not a criminal or a nutcase, with no listing of what guns I do own, would be OK with me.
    ----------
    I agree with you, but the problem is, they do want that list of guns everyone owns. That is the reason the bill failed. But the lefties are leaving that part out of their rants.

    *******************************

    I'm sure that is what Faux News told you but the bipartisan legislation did not include a registry that is one of the reasons they felt it would satisfy all the NRA paid off Senators. Face it – the Senators voting against this very watered down legislation were coward afraid of not being re-elected and having their NRA money dry up. That's the bottom line!

    May 1, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Annonymouse

    What I don't get is why people are making such a HUGE deal about background check laws. The kid from Sandy Hook didn't PURCHASE a gun, he stole it.
    -----------------–
    And had his mother not been killed, what crime could she have been charged with? None.

    May 1, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. David

    Is there a line in Vegas as to when the next mass murder will happen & how many people will be killed and how many others will be maimed? There needs to be if there isn't.

    May 1, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Padraig wrote:

    ... There should be a tougher scrutiny process to buy a weapon but many of you are to narrow minded to be able to sit down and logically think this out and discuss it.
    ---------------
    Yeah, people like Senators Cruz, Paul and many other conservatives.

    May 1, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. dagdthompson

    @Rudy NYC, actually, a Background check would NOT have stopped the Virginia Tech Shooting, or Aurora as the perpetrators did not have criminal records, and were over 18 they could legally purchase weapons. Columbine wouldn't even have been prevented because those two teenagers got their weapons from their parents, who had legally purchased them.

    May 1, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Carole L from NY

    Response to Marc L from NY:

    It would be the person's fault on many levels, since many laws would have been broken. In the case you presented, the person would not be allowed to purchase a gun having failed the background check. If said person goes out and steals guns and ammo or gets them from the black market (the street), there would be no way to have a background check and, therefore, the responsility would lie with the person who is the criminal and/or the person on the street sellling guns illegally in the blackmarket would then be just as responsible for the crime as the person who committed it, even if he/she didn't know the person was going to do something like murder, etc. Before or after the fact, the second party (person selling illegal weapons) would be just as guilty as the first party (person who was initially looking for a gun). Why? Because he would have provided the instrument to the person who did committed say murder and that would make seller just a s guilty as the person who pulled the trigger, because if the guy who illegally bought the gun would not have been able to shoot anyone without it.

    May 1, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Peoples State of Illinois

    @FLIndependent

    @Peoples State of Illinois

    @Boomer in Mo-By the way, I own a bunch of guns. A background check for the right to own guns because I'm not a criminal or a nutcase, with no listing of what guns I do own, would be OK with me.
    ----
    I agree with you, but the problem is, they do want that list of guns everyone owns. That is the reason the bill failed. But the lefties are leaving that part out of their rants.

    *******************************

    I'm sure that is what Faux News told you but the bipartisan legislation did not include a registry that is one of the reasons they felt it would satisfy all the NRA paid off Senators. Face it – the Senators voting against this very watered down legislation were coward afraid of not being re-elected and having their NRA money dry up. That's the bottom line!
    -------------------
    Another uninformed lefty voter. You obviously have not read the bill. Try reading it, especially section 122, which would create a defacto registration database.

    May 1, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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