May 19. 2013 2:11AM

Underestimating NH: Gun control picks two wrong targets


National gun control groups that are focusing unprecedented pressure on U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte are greatly underestimating not just the New Hampshire senator but also the great majority of New Hampshire people. Sen. Ayotte is not easily intimidated, and Granite Staters don't like their intelligence insulted.

The simple fact is that virtually no change to gun laws would have stopped the insane teenager who wreaked havoc at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school. Ayotte's focus on strengthening our mental health support system is a much more practical response to such incidents, rare though they are.

The gun control lobby is at its most cynical when it pushes forward still-grieving Newtown families to insist that an amendment to background checks of gun purchasers would have made any difference in that terrible incident.

Sen. Ayotte has been at her best in how she has dealt with this tactic, showing compassion and patience with the understandably inconsolable families, but not retreating an inch from her principled stand on the issues involved.

But it is Ayotte's constituents who should not be taken so lightly by Big Government Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his deep-pocketed machine.

A single poll's number showing general support for unspecified "stronger" background checks does not mean that most constituents disagree with Sen. Ayotte's position. They are much more likely to consider her reasoning and, as a result, support her. And they are equally as likely to resent some outside outfit trying to tell them what they should think about their senator.