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Eye On Boise

Three members of Idaho’s congressional delegation weigh in on Orlando shooting

Three of the four members of Idaho’s congressional delegation have weighed in on the Orlando shooting; Sen. Mike Crapo and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson both issued statements, while Sen. Jim Risch went on CNN with Wolf Blitzer and gave an extensive interview yesterday. There’s been no comment as yet from 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador. Here’s what each of the other three had to say:

Crapo: “The tragedy in Orlando emphasizes that those who seek to destroy our way of life live, work and walk among us every day.  As our nation mourns and remembers those who were lost, we gather in solidarity with those who responded to save lives and offer assistance, and draw close the families whose lives have been forever shattered.  Our diverse nation will not be deterred by murderers who commit acts of terrorism upon people of any background, who choose to live their lives freely and openly.  We will move forward bravely with compassion and ever-present vigilance.”

Simpson: "Kathy and I are deeply saddened by the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida that claimed the lives of innocent Americans.  We send our deepest condolences to the families that lost loves ones in the deplorable act of violence, and pray for the victims and those injured. We are grateful for the heroic actions of our law enforcement and the first responders that continue to care for victims."

Risch: “First of all I think it’s important to say that all of us, our hearts and prayers go out to the families. You can’t help but be shocked by these things, even though we deal with it on a regular basis. Every time it happens, it’s a new shock.”

When Blitzer pressed Risch about the shooter having been interviewed by the FBI in the past but not arrested – as was the case with previous mass shooters in California, Texas and Boston – Risch said, “If this was China or if it was Russia, these people would never have left the interview room and would still be in jail today. In America you have to have some concrete evidence in order to hold people. Simply thoughts, simply sympathies, as abhorrent as it is, with radical Islamic terrorism is not enough to hold people. The minute they take any over that, or give any assistance, they wind up in jail.”

Blitzer told Risch that the two major parties’ presumptive presidential nominees have had differing reactions, with Democrat Hillary Clinton suggesting banning assault rifles and Republican Donald Trump calling for banning Muslim immigration, Risch said, “I think I would take a third way, and that is we continue on the Intelligence Committee to look at, in a very granular fashion, how the FBI is looking at these, how Homeland Security, how the local people are looking at it,  and what we can do better in each situation to better identify someone who is exhibiting the indicia.”

When Blitzer asked Risch if he still believes someone on a terrorist watch list or no-fly list should be able to buy a gun, Risch said, “If they’re simply on a list, Wolf, that will never ever pass constitutional muster. You must give a person who is put on a list due process to get themselves off the list. We’ve learned that with the no-fly list and a couple of others. ... Being put on a no-fly list is not denying someone a constitutional right. Not being able to possess or purchase a weapon is a denial of a constitutional right. In America we view these things very differently than they do in other countries.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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