Four days after supporters of Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte interrupted and heckled an anti-gun demonstrator whose daughter was killed in a shooting, her office is trying to lower the temperature of an increasingly nasty debate over gun control.
“While Senator Ayotte wasn’t there, she hopes that everyone would be civil at all events no matter what their viewpoint is,” said Ayotte spokesman Jeff Grappone in a statement to BuzzFeed.
A YouTube video from the event that spread this week shows one gun rights protester man perch himself directly next to the father and repeatedly interrupt him. People in the crowd also began changing “Ayotte! Ayotte!” while he attempted to speak.
The incident took place at a demonstration in Concord, New Hampshire Tuesday organized by Michael Bloomberg’s gun control advocacy group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Anti-gun demonstrators got into some trouble themselves by reading from a list of gun violence victims who have been killed since Newtown that ended up including Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, alleged cop killer Christopher Dorner, and other murder suspects. (The Bloomberg group apologized, and said those names should have been removed from the list.)
The gun debate has been a divisive one in the moderate state of New Hampshire, where anti-gun demonstrators have confronted Ayotte at public events.
Update: Mark Glaze, Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, sent BuzzFeed this statement
“It is disappointing that Kelly Ayotte backers encouraged the intimidation of a New Hampshire gun violence survivor — whose daughter was murdered in cold blood right in front of him — simply for telling his story. Beyond denouncing this abhorrent behavior, Kelly Ayotte should stop listening to the Washington gun lobby and start listening to the 89 percent of her constituents who want common-sense background checks on all gun sales— so more Granite Staters don’t have to go through the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence.”