Idaho’s Crapo, Risch help kill gun control, cast identical votes on 7 amendments

Idaho GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch helped carry the day for opponents of tougher gun laws during a 2-hour string of votes late Wednesday.

A filibuster-proof three-fifths vote was required for passage of amendments to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. All seven amendments considered Wednesday failed to meet that threshold, which was agreed to by Democratic and Republican leaders.

Last week, Risch and Crapo were among 14 GOP lawmakers who promised to filibuster any new gun control measures they see as  infringing on 2nd Amendment rights.

Wednesday’s voting began shortly after 4 p.m. with the compromise struck by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to expand background checks to all commercial firearm sales. The measure got a majority, 54-46, six votes short of the necessary 60 votes. Crapo and Risch both voted no.

The second vote was on a Republican alternative on background checks authored by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. The measure had a 52-48 majority, with Crapo and Risch voting yes.

The third amendment was from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to punish firearms trafficking. The vote was 58-42, with Crapo and Risch voting no.

The fourth measure would have required reciprocity among states for concealed weapons permits. Authored by Sen. John Coryn, R-Texas. It failed on a 57-43 vote, with Risch and Crapo voting aye.

The fifth vote was on California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s assault weapons ban, which failed 40-60, with Crapo and Risch voting no.

The sixth measure, by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, was aimed at protecting 2nd Amendment rights for veterans and their families. The vote was 56-44, with Crapo and Risch voting yes.

The final vote was on a measure to regulate larger capacity ammunition feeding devices, authored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. That vote was 46-54, with Crapo and Risch voting no.

For details on the votes and amendments, click on the link in the first paragraph of this blog.


Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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