With President Obama’s announcement of new gun safety measures, Senator Kelly Ayotte is criticizing the president for not working with Congress to develop a bipartisan solution. Senator Ayotte’s even claiming that she supported improving background checks for gun purchases.
In truth, Ayotte’s twice voted against common sense measures to expand background checks — including against a bipartisan proposal that received broad support in the wake of last month’s San Bernardino mass shooting.
Facing tough reelection, it’s no surprise that Senator Kelly Ayotte’s trying to downplay her right-wing policy positions and indebtedness to the NRA — but intentionally misleading Granite Staters isn’t the answer to her long history of playing partisan politics.
Ayotte Would Really Like People To Believe She Supports Expanding Background Checks
In Opposing President Obama’s Executive Actions On Guns, Ayotte Claimed She Voted To Improve The Background Check System
Ayotte Argued President Obama “Should Work With Congress On Bipartisan Legislation” On Guns, Rather Than Issuing Executive Actions, And Argued She Voted In Favor Of Improving Background Checks. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, “Reaction to President Barack Obama’s executive action on gun control was mixed and fell along party lines Tuesday. […] Ayotte said Obama should have worked with Congress to achieve legislation. ‘Instead of more executive overreach, the President should work with Congress on bipartisan legislation, like the bill I previously voted for that improves the background check system, encourages states to submit relevant mental health records into the system, and increases prosecutions of those who illegally seek to obtain firearms while protecting Americans’ constitutional rights,’ Ayotte said.” [New Hampshire Union Leader, 1/5/16]
Ayotte Voted Twice Against Expanding Background Checks
2013: VOTED AGAINST EXPANDING BACKGROUND CHECKS IN AFTERMATH OF SANDY HOOK SCHOOL SHOOTING
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, Ayotte voted against the Manchin-Toomey proposal to expand background checks. She was the only Senator from New England to vote against the proposal.
Ayotte argued background checks would place an undue burden on gun owners.
Under a firestorm of criticism, Ayotte later claimed she did, in fact, support background checks, but she voted for a proposal that maintained the gun show loophole and did not expand federal background check requirements.
Ayotte Was The Only Senator From New England To Vote Against Expanding Background Checks
2013: Ayotte Voted Against Expanding Federal Background Check Requirement To Cover Firearms Purchases At Gun Shows, Over The Internet Or Through An Ad, While Excluding Sales Between Family Members And Friends. In April 2013, Ayotte voted against an amendment that, according to the Albuquerque Journal, “aimed to block criminals and the seriously mentally ill from obtaining firearms. Currently, mandatory background checks apply only to purchases from licensed firearms dealers. The so-called Manchin-Toomey amendment would have expanded the checks to include firearms purchased online or from advertisements, but not to guns acquired from friends and relatives. The compromise was widely seen as the best chance for some kind of gun law change in the Senate – at least in the early days of the 113th Congress.” The Senate rejected the proposed amendment to proposed gun law legislation by a vote of 54 to 46; the Senate had previously decided that 60 votes would be required for the amendment to be agreed to. [Senate Vote 97, 4/17/13; Albuquerque Journal, 4/18/13; Congressional Action, S.Amdt. 715]
2013: Ayotte Was The Only New England Senator To Vote Against Extending Background Checks On Firearms. According to the Boston Globe, “Proponents needed 60 votes to prevent a filibuster on the background-check amendment, and they fell short, 54 to 46. New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte was the only New England senator to vote no, among the 41 Republicans and five Democrats who were opposed.” [Boston Globe, 4/18/15]
Ayotte Said Background Checks Would Place An Undue Burden On Gun Owners
2013: Ayotte Said She Voted Against Background Checks Because They “Would Place Unnecessary Burdens On Law-Abiding Gun Owners.” According to The New York Times, Ms. Ayotte voted against the background check measure because, she said, it would ‘place unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners.’ Ms. Simon pressed Ms. Ayotte; a video of their encounter was posted by ThinkProgress.org.” [New York Times, 4/20/13]
Ayotte Later Claimed She Supported Background Checks On Gun Purchases
2013: Ayotte Claimed To Support Background Checks On Gun Purchases. According to Politico, “Facing a wave of intense criticism and plunging poll numbers after opposing a bill to expand background checks on gun purchases, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte tried some damage control in an op-ed published Monday. ‘Out of state special interests are running false ads attacking me and even lying about my efforts to prevent gun-related violence,’ Ayotte, a Republican, wrote in the op-ed, published by Patch news sites in New Hampshire. ‘I want to set the record straight: I support effective background checks and in fact voted recently to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).’ Outside groups are attacking Ayotte for voting against a compromise crafted by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). That proposal would’ve mandated background checks for sales at gun shows and on the internet.” [Politico, 5/7/13]
2015: Ayotte Argued That She Supported Improving The Firearms Background Check System. In an interview with NHPR, Ayotte said, “I think if you look at what happened in Charleston from what I understand he legally obtained that gun so none of the laws we were debating in Washington really would have unfortunately impacted his access to a gun. However, I’ve been focusing very much on fixing our broken background check system and that’s the legislation I supported. I want to more aggressively prosecute those who do violate the laws. And also I want to improve our mental health system. None of us know all the facts of what happened in Charleston, but I know that we can benefit as a state from a stronger and better mental health system. Those are where I’ve been focusing my efforts in Washington.” [NHPR, 7/1/15]
…But Voted For GOP Bill That Maintained Gun Show Loophole And Did Not Expand Background Checks
2013: Ayotte Voted For GOP Gun Bill Maintaining Gun Show Exemption From Background Checks, Increasing School Security Funding And Prohibiting Buying A Gun To Give To A Person Banned From Buying One Themselves. In April 2013, Ayotte voted for legislation that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “would [have] reauthorize[d] grants to help states use the national background check database. It would [have] require[d] federal courts to submit records to the database and restrict[ed] federal grant funds to states that do not meet reporting requirements. It also would [have] expand[ed] definitions of mental illness that prohibit individuals from owning guns, ma[d]e it a federal crime to purchase firearms on behalf of people legally barred from owning them and call[ed] for a task force to investigate and prosecute attempted firearm purchases by felons and fugitives. It would [have] prohibit[ed] the Justice Department from inducing licensed gun dealers to sell firearms to a straw purchaser unless department officials certify that certain safeguards are in place. It would [have] call[ed] for a study on the causes of mass shootings, including the impact of violent video games, and reauthorize[d] grant programs on school security, mental health and crime prevention.” The legislation was considered as a substitute amendment to Senate Democrats’ gun legislation, and under an earlier Senate agreement, the amendment required 60 votes to be adopted. The Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 52 to 48. [Senate Vote 98, 4/17/13; Congressional Quarterly, 4/17/13]
2015: Despite Claiming She Supported Background Checks, Ayotte Again Voted Against Expanding Background Checks After The San Bernardino Mass Shooting
2015: Ayotte Effectively Voted Against Expanding Federal Background Check Requirement To Cover Firearms Purchases At Gun Shows, Over The Internet Or Through An Ad, While Excluding Sales between family members and friends. In December 2015, Ayotte effectively voted against expanding federal background check requirement to cover firearms purchases at gun shows, over the internet or through an ad, while excluding sales between family members and friends. According to Congressional Quarterly, the amendment would have “expand[d] the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to include firearms purchased on the Internet or at a gun show, and would make it unlawful to sell or transfer a firearm under such circumstances without first completing a background check.” The underlying legislation was a substitute amendment repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act while also defunding Planned Parenthood. The vote was on a motion to waive all applicable budgetary discipline, which required a 3/5ths majority. The Senate rejected the motion by a vote of 48 to 50. [Senate Vote 321, 12/3/15; Congressional Quarterly, 12/3/15; Congressional Quarterly, 12/3/15]
Published: Jan 6, 2016