Turns out the reason some Republicans blocked the gun legislation may be because they just couldn’t bring themselves to do anything that might help the president.
That’s according to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who co-sponsored the legislation that would have strengthened background checks.
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized,” the Republican told the Times Herald newspaper. “There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.”
Now a young woman who lost her mother in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting is demanding answers, especially from Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who voted against the bill.
“It’s disgusting that she’s letting, you know, a personal vendetta against someone really just dismiss the murder of my mother. It’s disgusting,” Erica Lafferty told Hardball’s Chris Matthews in regards to Ayotte’s decision to vote no. Lafferty’s mother, Dawn Hochsprung, was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary and was among those murdered by gunman Adam Lanza on Dec. 14.
Earlier this week, Sen. Ayotte and Lafferty argued at a town hall meeting over the senator’s vote against background check legislation for gun buyers.
“You had mentioned that day you voted, owners of gun stores that the expanded background checks would harm,” Lafferty said. “I am just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn’t more important than that.”
A stunned Ayotte responded with condolences for the Lafferty family’s loss, followed by an explanation of her vote.
“As you and I both know, the issue wasn’t a background check system issue at Sandy Hook,” Sen. Ayotte responded. “Mental health is the one thing that I hope we can both agree on moving forward and getting done.”
Lafferty told msnbc’s Chris Matthews this wasn’t the first time the senator dodged the question.
“It really just seems like she has no defense,” says Lafferty. ”Every time she’s asked the same question, it’s a different answer over and over.”
Ayotte may not have all the answers, but a recent Quinnipiac poll shows that her party is favored when it comes to gun policy in Congress. By a narrow margin, 42% of those polled say they believed Republicans could do a better job when it came to gun legislation, compared to the 38% who preferred the Democrats’ handling of the issue in Congress.
Still, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell says Senator Kelly Ayotte will not be re-elected in 2014 unless she changes her stance on gun control.
“The reason Kelly Ayotte…has no answer is because there is no answer,” says Rendell. ”There’s no good answer except ‘I’m a coward’ or except ‘I let partisanship get in the way of it because I hate the president.’ Neither of those answers is acceptable.”