May 1st, 2013
01:31 PM ET
9 years ago

Gun vote follows senators home

(CNN) – It was a tense moment on an emotionally charged topic: the daughter of the slain principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School asking Sen. Kelly Ayotte why, in mid-April, she voted against bolstering background checks on gun sales.

"I'm just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn't as important" as inconveniencing gun sellers, asked Erica Lafferty, daughter of Dawn Hochsprung.

If it looked like a made for television moment, it should. Lafferty was sent to Ayotte's event by the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, one of several gun control groups using this week's Congressional recess to bring the gun control message to the states.

The April 17 defeat of a bipartisan measure expanding background checks to gun shows and internet sales was seen as a major blow to gun control efforts, which began after the Newtown shooting in December that left 26 people dead. The new gun laws are a major initiative of President Barack Obama's second term.

After the vote, Obama called out senators who opposed the background checks bill, suggesting they were ignoring the will of the people who elected them.

Noting polls that showed 90% support for such a measure, Obama called it a "pretty shameful day for Washington" and wondered of Congress: "Who are we here to represent?"

WATCH: Erica Lafferty will appear Wednesday night on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," starting at 8 p.m. ET.

But while he vowed to continue pressing for tighter controls on guns, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ultimately shelved the gun control legislation without bringing it to a final vote.

However, there are discussions among senators to revive gun legislation, multiple sources say. One Senate source said even Ayotte is "willing to consider alternatives" to the background checks measure.

Senate Democratic leadership sources say they are willing to return to the gun issue, but only if they come up with legislation that is guaranteed to pass. Outside groups sending advocates to senators' events and running ads may help get there.

Those groups hope pressure from constituents will help fuel another go at gun control. Ayotte, who represents a state that voted for Obama in November and whose four other statewide representatives are Democrats, has been a particular target.

The group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband began airing radio ads accusing Ayotte of "ignoring the will of the people."

A spot from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns takes a similar approach, charging Ayotte with giving "criminals a pass" – a hard blow for the former state attorney general who ran largely on her tough-on-crime record.

And Organizing for Action, the political outlet formed from Obama's presidential campaign, took out ads online encouraging supporters to "Remind Senator Ayotte: You work for New Hampshire, not the gun lobby."

That gun lobby happens to be on the air in New Hampshire as well, praising Ayotte for her "no" vote on background checks. The National Rifle Association's radio spot thanks the senator for her "courage to oppose misguided gun control laws that would not have prevented Sandy Hook."

A survey conducted by a pro-Democratic polling firm indicated a drop in support for Ayotte after her vote against the background checks provision, along with other senators who opposed the measure. One, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, wrote on Facebook earlier this week his new approval rating "probably puts me somewhere just below pond scum."

"It was a popular amendment, and I voted against it," Flake wrote. He'll be the subject of a protest organized by Bloomberg's group on Thursday, when survivors of gun violence will gather at his Phoenix office to demand a face-to-face meeting discussing the vote.

The poll also indicated a drop in support for other opponents of the bill, including Alaska's Mark Begich, one of the four Democrats from pro-gun states who sided with most Republicans in opposition.

Another one of those Democrats, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, will soon be the subject of a television spot from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that features a woman detailed her harrowing experience of hiding from an armed intruder.

"I hid my girls in a closet, called for help, aimed my handgun at the door and waited," Claire Kelly of Stevensville, Montana, says in the ad. "Guns can protect us but we're less safe with guns in the wrong hands."

The group said Wednesday they'll spend $50,000 to air the spot in Montana – even though Baucus announced in April he won't seek re-election in 2014.

"Another vote will happen in the Senate," Adam Green, PCCC's co-founder, said. "Max Baucus needs to choose whether he stands with the overwhelming majority of Montanans who support background checks or the gun manufacturers that profit by selling guns to criminals."

The ad isn't the only effort to highlight Baucus' vote. Bloomberg's group organized a "shame on you" rally at the senator's office in Bozeman shortly after the vote, part of a national effort to loudly protest senators who helped defeat the measure.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns will also send the father of a Newtown victim to Arkansas Thursday to attend a public event held by Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat who voted "no" on background checks and is up for re-election next year.

Meanwhile, national polling still indicates a desire for extending background checks on gun sales. Nearly two-thirds of Americans said in a Gallup survey out Monday that the Senate should have passed the measure in mid-April.

But the survey indicated a partisan divide, with Democrats and independent voters not seeing eye-to-eye with Republicans.

Prior to the Senate's failure to pass the proposal, most national polling indicated that nearly nine in 10 Americans supported expanded background checks for gun sales.

CNN's Dana Bash, Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Gun control • Kelly Ayotte • Max Baucus
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. rs


    I hear random killings and murders rarely happen in North Korea(unless it was sanctioned by the government). Im pretty sure they would love to have all of that wish for more "security" and less "freedom".
    So what you're saying is the dismemberment of 22 first graders by a kook with a military grade weapon, or, just the causal 3,700 gun deaths since Sandy Hook really are just "the price of freedom" (to allow the NRA to make our laws)?
    That's crazy dude.
    You're the best argument for gun control here today, so far.

    May 1, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. ghostriter

    Republicans cut ATF funding and then complains that the ATF isn't doing it's job.

    This surprises no one. Completely expected even.

    May 1, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "You need to focus more on mental health issues."

    OK. We'll focus on yours first then.

    May 1, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. PJ

    @Ed1: "If you want to blame somebody for the 5 year old getting a 22 start with the stupid parents first".
    And you sound like a responsible gun owner, so why do you object to background checks for those who
    are obviously not so responsible? It just seems odd that you don't want these people kept away from
    guns. I have never heard anyone say they want to take away your guns. So, why aid and abet
    the crazies?

    May 1, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "I pointed out that the right wing has CUT the enforcement budgets."

    Not only that, but they refuse to allow anyone to be appointed as head of ATF, which has been operating with something like 3 different "acting directors" for the past 6-7 years.

    May 1, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Democrats cut the military through Obama's sequester and blame everyone else.

    This surprises no one. Competely expected even.

    Are we still at war ? Why do we need to spend like we are ? We haven't payed for the last two wars .

    Let me know when you find the WMD's in Iraq .

    May 1, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Long Time Liberal

    They should do away with the second amendment. It's disgusting what these right wing pigs are doing.

    May 1, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Mark

    When the left bans all abortion I will turn in my guns. Until then you have no right to talk about saving lives.

    May 1, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Long Time Liberal

    In a matter of fact this country shoud do away with all republicans.

    I HATE them

    May 1, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Homer Simpson

    When your blog can be rendered complete bs by the simple truth, you know your days are numbered. why change voting laws , thats your first clue your not following the will of the people, which is the last thing the gop is worried about

    May 1, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Malory Archer


    Democrats cut the military through Obama's sequester and blame everyone else.


    The Dems sent soldiers home? Really? REALLY???!!!

    May 1, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Thomas

    It's a shame that democrats can't see the truth.

    One thing for sure is that Obama is fundamentally changing this country and the blind followers are just as much part of the problem now.


    In the valley of the blind , the one eyed man is king baby !

    It's not your vision that is impaired , it's your mind !

    And what dose this have to do with gun violence ?

    May 1, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. TheObserver


    What about that vibrant young Indian mother-to-be in Ireland who went septic and died from her dead fetus that she couldn't have aborted because of Irish law. I suppose if you were the husband you'd be fine with losing your newborn and your spouse at the same time while the doctors watched?

    God you are stupid. Please don't procreate.

    May 1, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. 82ndABNVET

    @sonny chapman

    Gun Rights folks are the biggest babies in the world. I'm a hunter & believe in the right to own a 10 shot pistol for protection from real, not imaginary dangers.

    Want to play Army? Then join the Army !


    So, you have no problem with limiting US citizens to 10 rounds in any given magazine for any given weapon?

    Just a simple google seach on how many times a cop must fire his/her weapon to kill a suspect turned up this (from "The Police Policy Studies Council" regarding police shootings) –

    "There is a strong relationship between the volume of shots by police and the probability of killing the suspect. In 17 incidents in which police fired three times or less, only two persons died. In 12 incidents in which four or more shots were fired, nine persons died."

    Now suppose you have 2-4 people break into your house and all you have is say a Glock 26 chambered in 9mm with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds. Suppose it takes 4 shots to bring down each attacker, per the information provided above. 4 shots at 4 people might require 16 rounds. So, you would be 6 rounds short and thus a possability of you being dead.

    You can argue, well I am a good shot and I can kill someone with only 1 round. Sure. You bet. Have you ever been in an actual firefight when you are dodging for cover and your adrenalin is pumping through your body? It takes much practice and experiance to engage your target in such a situation. Thus, you will most likely either miss the first shot you take or hit the person in a non-vital area such as a leg, arm or buttocks.

    Then, if you add the slight possability that you might have a Failure to Fire (FTF), Failure to Eject (FTE) or your magazine fails to properly push the next round up so that the weapon can chamber a new round..........that adds to the problem at hand.

    Now, not everyone is going ot have to face multiple bad guys/gals at one time. But, what happens if you must? What happens if an entire gang breaks down your door to rape and pillage your family and belongings? What if it is pitch black, you cant see your targets, and are just blindly shooting? Those 10 rounds you have will go by pretty fast.

    And about your point about joining the Army if you want to play Army. Sure, that sounds cute and all........... But, I actually did join the Army as you can see from my "name" on the posting. I have deployed multiple times to Iraq and have been in some really bad firefights. I know what happens when bad guys are comming after you. I know what happens when the bullets start flying. I know what happens to weapons at the most inoportune time (jams are just the begining).

    Additonally, STANDARD CAPACITY magazines for AR-15's are 30 rounds. RESTRICTED CAPACITY magazines are those less than 30 (usually 10 round magazine for California and New York, etc).

    The STANDARD CAPACITY magazine for my SIG 9mm is 15 rounds. Sure, they also sell a RESTRICTED CAPACITY magazine that holds 10 rounds, but I dont live in a nanny state and thus am able to use my 15 rounders.

    The issue at hand is not guns. The issue is PEOPLE. A PERSON must CHOOSE to use a gun in a manner in which it will KILL another person.

    A gun is just a tool. Just like the recent Boston bombing (explosives) and the Ricin laced letters (poison), or the recent church stabbing (knife)...........if a person wants to kill or injure someone, they can use any tool. It doesnt have to be a gun.

    The real problem is mental health. If you do not address that, there will continue to be more mass shootings/stabbings/bombings. Arbitrary gun laws will do nothing.

    None of the gun laws that were voted down would have stopped Sandy Hook. That is all there is to it. Nor would they stop the next shooting. You cannot legislate the human mind away. If you take guns away, guess what? Only the bad guys will have them.

    May 1, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    I'm just counting down to the next mass shooting. I'll make you a $10,00 bet it's coming. Senators who voted against stronger background checks will have blood on their hands. Maybe next time the shooter will have multiple 100 round drums and full body armor like the North Hollywood shootout.

    May 1, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Homer Simpson

    My only wish is for you guest, to understand how enjoyable it is to see youwaste so much time trying to convince people why the gop is for them, if you review, none of your posts actually say anything good about the gop, everything you say is just bashing the left, uusing lies and gop talking points, lets do education again shall we, crickets guest?

    May 1, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Jay

    Just like with the Affordable Healthcare Bill, this background check bill has loads of other provisions, THAT IS WHY IT got shot down. In another year, people all over this country who really work and pay taxes are going to be ticked off when they see what the government does to us all with the Healthcare bill.

    May 1, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Oakspar77777

    I wonder why the Senator was not rather being asked why that poor girls mother was trusted to give her lives for her students, but so untrusted that her 2nd Amendmend rights were stripped from her at the door to her work.

    If the goal is to disarm the criminal, why do we disarm the teachers instead?

    I also noted that this article did little to mention the ones who voted the other way who will see ramifications for this as well (like Kay Hagen of NC).

    May 1, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. J Hansen

    The oft-quoted "90%" who support background checks answered broad survey questions about whether we need them in general, they had nothing to do with the details of this law. In fact, of the people who read it, including Democrats who voted against it, it's generally disliked. Why is it disliked? It aims to force private citizens to report sales of currently unregistered guns amongst themselves (hence the creation of a gun registry), gives the government access to HIPAA protected health records, and essentially puts gun shows out of business. While those things are desirable to the far left, most people see them as intrusions on privacy and an inconvenience in general. The net result of all of this legislation and intrusion on privacy wouldn't have prevented Sandy Hook because the shooter murdered his mother and took her legally purchased guns, and it wouldn't have stopped the Tsarnaev brothers' shootout because they illegally posessed their weapons. The bottom line is that giving up freedoms and privacy for no reasonable gain in safety is bad policy and the Senate voted rationally.

    May 1, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. rs

    The Right simply refuses to be rational about guns. A simple extention of background checks at gun shows and for Internet sales- a no brainer. No, they'll wait until 99% of Americans want full on registration, licensing, and insurance for gun owners, then they'll cry about how unfair life is. Maybe by that time they'll realize the reason they will never win national elections again is that they stabbed the majority of Americans in the back.

    May 1, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. rs

    So, you have no problem with limiting US citizens to 10 rounds in any given magazine for any given weapon?
    I have no ptoblem limiting them to ONE- just like the musket the 2nd Amendment was written for.

    May 1, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Homer Simpson

    Only one good repub, christie, and they hate him, ha ha. not smart enough to save themselves, good . he put people first, and that is a gop no no. when will they realize they are in deep doo doo

    May 1, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. rs

    The only thing your fairy tale doesn't have is aliens or talking dogs. "What if" isn't real life.

    May 1, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Thomas

    @Long Time Liberal
    They should do away with the second amendment. It's disgusting what these right wing pigs are doing.

    Its a good amendment , however its purpose is being manipulated . At onetime slavery was legal , there were no child labor laws , women couldn't vote , Native Americans were hunted.

    Evolution is not just where we come from , but where we want to go .
    We no longer live in the wild west . The Gun lobby would like to convince us otherwise .

    May 1, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. republicans: not here to help the middle class, just here to stir the crap

    5 year old shoots 2 year old in Kentucky. Guns don't kill people, children do. Yea right

    May 1, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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