Mothers Group Calls on Crapo for Tougher Stand on Gun Violence After Las Vegas Massacre 

click to enlarge - Dozens of people, many of them with children, filed into a conference at the offices of Sen. Mike Crapo to talk about gun violence. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Dozens of people, many of them with children, filed into a conference at the offices of Sen. Mike Crapo to talk about gun violence.
Children giggled and many of them played with toys on the floor of the conference room in the Boise office of Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), but their mothers wiped away tears during a description of a school shooting by a teacher. A wave of claustrophobia swept over the room, and one of the leaders of Idaho Moms for a Brighter Future, Melanie Folwell, addressed the group.

"Gun access doesn't have to be unfettered," she said.

click to enlarge HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
Folwell was one of dozens of mothers and more than a dozen children who had come to Crapo's office to talk about the senator's sponsorship of the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, which would normalize the sale of firearm silencers across state and national borders, and forbidding the collection of certain information about people who purchase silencers.

Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern said the bill was "brought up to address hearing issues, not to make guns easier to get," but the subtext of the visit by the group was the massacre over the weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, that left 58 dead and hundreds injured: what kind of atrocity it would take for Crapo and other members of Congress to take steps that would regulate firearms and reduce gun violence.

"What's Crapo's personal line? How many people need to die before he'll speak up?" said Tracy Olson.

The senator released a response to the shooting in Las Vegas Oct. 2:

"As our nation mourns and remembers the lives lost in Las Vegas, we gather in solidarity to uplift those left to heal and those left to grieve. I commend the selfless actions of first responders and everyday citizens who rushed to save, protect and care for their fellow man. Instances like this heinous crime seek to destroy our sense of security and aim to divide. May we unite in the fight against evil with an ever-vigilant drive toward peace."

Several members of the group alleged Crapo's support of weapon-related industries had made him more supportive of such interests than those of his constituents, citing a $4,500 campaign contribution from the National Rifle Association, his sponsorship of a bill that would repeal the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 and a photo of him in Ammoland shaking hands with Buck Knives President CJ Buck, though members of Idaho Moms for a Brighter Future had been to Crapo's offices numerous times and never met with him. In fact, during the 2015-16 election cycle, Crapo received $17,400 from gun lobbyists, including $7,500 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and $9,900 from the National Rifle Association.

"It feels so cynical and narrow and crappy," Folwell said.
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