“You had mentioned that the burden to owners of gun stores that these expanded background checks would cause,” Lafferty said. “I’m just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the hall of her elementary school isn’t as important as that?”This gave Ayotte a fine chance to show other politicians how you stand up to the cruel, pushy families of America's gun victims and tell them that since you can't fix everything, you won't fix anything. It's just a hell of a lot easier to say "sorry for your loss" after each one of these things than bothering to figure out how to stop them, right?
All right, Ayotte, take it away (below the fold):
“Certainly let me just say that I obviously am so sorry – as everyone here is, no matter what our views are,” Ayotte said to Lafferty, the daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung. “I think that ultimately when we look at what happened in Sandy Hook … all of us want to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” […]Yes, so sorry, but since this one particular murder might not have been stopped by fixing our broken background check system, should we even bother? (Can't wait to hear her answer to the question when a questioner has had a family member murdered by someone who would have been caught by a more expansive system. Probably start mumbling about how very brave she was for even daring to let the Senate vote at all on such things.)
“As you and I both know the issue wasn’t [because of the] background check system,” said Ayotte, who had personally met with Lafferty before the high-profile gun-control votes earlier this month. “The issue was mental health … because that seems to be the overriding issue of all of this.”
What's that? She did that too? Ah, what a trooper:
“I took a lot of heat, I will say, from members of my own party who didn’t like the fact I voted to actually go to debate on this issue because we can have strong disagreements,” Ayotte said to Lafferty. “But ultimately everything should always be debated and discussed. And I will continue to do that, and I appreciate your being here today. I know this can’t be easy.”Well damn, she didn't outright filibuster gun safety reforms like most of the rest of her party did. Give her a freaking medal. Then, since we all agree that people with mental health problems should probably not have such easy access to guns, let's do nothing on that. While we're doing nothing, let's also further cut funding for mental health programs—really, there's absolutely nothing that sequestration can't make worse, right?
The point of closing the loophole that allows weapons to be sold at gun shows and other locations with no background checks was not to eliminate every possible source of gun violence, in this country. The point was that it was the easiest possible thing—the thing unambiguously popular among nearly all Americans, mostly because all the sane people are aghast that we don't already do that damn thing already. The other things, like limiting magazine capacity (which would have made a big difference in Tucson, and likely in Sandy Hook as well) are much heavier lifts, but closing the gaping hole in the law that lets any convicted violent felon or would-be terrorist or guy who just broke out of the county jail and is still in his orange jumpsuit purchase whatever gun they want to use in their next crime? Yeah, that one was the "gimme". It was the one you'd have to be an absolute monster to block.
Again, though, when you've got the Republican Party blocking treaties meant to stop weapons trafficking to drug cartels and actual child armies, protecting the current easy path to gun access for criminals, terrorists, and the otherwise potentially violent here in the U.S.—on the grounds that the paperwork would just be too troublesome, mind you—seems par for the course. To tell the daughter of a recent murder victim that you were brave for allowing a goddamn vote on these things at all, though—good God.