CONCORD, N.H., June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Survivors of gun violence, faith leaders, and local activists gathered at City Plaza in Concord, New Hampshire today to hold Senator Kelly Ayotte accountable for voting against bipartisan legislation proposed by NRA A-rated Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey that would have closed loopholes that make it easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get their hands on guns. The rally was part of the "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" – a 25-state national bus tour over a period of 100 days aimed at urging America's leaders to support common-sense gun policies.
Participants included: John Cantin, a survivor of gun violence who was shot while trying to help his daughter before she was gunned down by her estranged husband in Manchester in October 2009; Judy Stadtman, the Co-Founder of the Project for Safer Communities NH; Revered Stephen R. Silver of the First Congressional Church of Lebanon; Rabbi Robin Nafshi; Linda Lea Snyder, Interim Executive Director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches; and Reverend Kate Atkinson. They all came together to voice their continued support for comprehensive and enforceable background checks, and they called on Senator Ayotte to support these common-sense, life-saving measures. As part of the rally, participants also read the names of thousands of victims of gun violence.
Earlier in the day, at Senator Ayotte's Manchester office, John Cantin delivered a list of more than 6,000 names of people who have been murdered with guns since the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
It remains far too easy for criminals, domestic abusers, the seriously mentally ill, and other dangerous individuals – people who know they can't pass a background check – to skirt the law and obtain guns by purchasing them online or at gun shows, where background checks are not required under federal law. The Manchin-Toomey bill would have closed this dangerous loophole by extending background checks to commercial gun sales. But in April, Senator Ayotte voted to block this sensible legislation, despite the fact that 89 percent of Granite Staters support background checks for all gun sales.
"Rather than represent the will of the 89 percent of New Hampshire residents who support background checks, Senator Ayotte sided with the Washington gun lobby and voted to maintain dangerous loopholes in our gun laws that allow criminals, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill to obtain deadly weapons with no questions asked," said Judy Stadtman, Co-Founder of New Hampshire Project for Safer Communities. "Since then, Ayotte has continued to be dishonest with her constituents by claiming she supports background checks, when in fact she voted against the only legislation that would have improved the background check system and kept guns out of the wrong hands. But the people of New Hampshire know better – and the people of New Hampshire deserve better than Kelly Ayotte."
"My family and I are sadly all too familiar with the tragic consequences of gun violence and its ability to rip families apart. My sweet daughter Melissa was shot and killed in 2009, and I feel the pain of her absence every day," said John Cantin. "But by working to pass common-sense legislation that prevents dangerous individuals from getting their hands on guns in the first place, we can help make sure that no other families have to endure the loss of a loved one to this senseless violence. We need our leaders in Washington to take action now to stop the bloodshed."
The No More Names tour will provide an opportunity for the more than 90 percent of Americans who support background checks to drive home a message to our elected officials that our country needs common-sense gun laws. At each stop, participants will hold rallies with a broad coalition of supporters – including police, survivors, domestic violence prevention advocates, mayors, and other elected officials – to commemorate those we've lost and call on our leaders to stand with the American people on sensible gun policies. They will both applaud senators who voted to support comprehensive and enforceable background checks, and urge those who opposed this measure to take a second look.
States on the tour include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit www.NoMoreNames.org.
Evidence demonstrates that background checks help save lives. In states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:
- Gun trafficking was 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.
- The rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.
- The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.
- Thirty-nine percent fewer law enforcement officers were shot to death with handguns.
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 950 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org
 Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, and Maria Bulzacchelli, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.
 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2010.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].
 Federal Bureau of Investigation. LEOKA Database, 2001-2011 (Accessed Mar. 2013).
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns