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Politics & Government

Idaho's congressmen largely muted on Uvalde mass shooting

Rep. Russ Fulcher wearing a blue suit jacket with a microphone in front of his face and his left hand on this forehead.
Pool photo
/
The Hill
FILE - In this June 29, 2020 file photo Rep. Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho listens to testimony, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The response from Idaho’s congressional delegation over a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that's killed at least 21 people — most of them elementary school students — was mostly muted during the first 24 hours.

As of Wednesday afternoon, none of the four congressmen had posted statements about the killing spree that left at least 21 people dead — mostly elementary school students — to their Facebook or Twitter feeds.

U.S. Congressman Russ Fulcher appeared for an interview with KBOI radio Wednesday morning.

After spending the first 30 seconds of the interview saying he expects in the next few days to debate gun control measures in the Democratically controlled House, Fulcher said he shares “the same frustration that everyone else does” over the shooting.

But further restrictions on firearms, he said, aren’t the solution.

“We are entirely missing the mark,” Fulcher said.

Instead, he said, “strengthening the family unit, the parental unit, the moral teaching that we have walked away from over time,” is the fix needed to stop mass shootings – more than 200 of which have been recorded in the U.S. so far this year.

“That’s not an overnight solution,” Fulcher added.

The second-term congressman, who represents the northern and western parts of Idaho, also said gun control advocates in Congress sang a different tune earlier this month.

“They’re going to be the same people that were standing front and center about 10, 12 days ago, screaming that we need to put firearms in the hands of the Ukrainian people.”

Nearly 4,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed during the Russian invasion this year, according to United Nations estimates.

Since news of Tuesday’s shooting widely circulated, only Fulcher and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo had posted on their respective social media accounts.

Fulcher celebrated National Beef Month, along with posting a picture meeting with local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Crapo, who recently won the Republican nomination in his re-election campaign, tweeted a press release urging the IRS to speed up its tax return processing.

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson issued this statement Thursday afternoon — about two days after the rampage.

Marty Cozza, a spokesperson for Risch, said in an email Thursday morning that his office had no statement at this time.

All four men have received ratings between 90-100% from the National Rifle Association, which is scheduled to hold its annual conference about 300 miles east of Uvalde in Houston starting Friday.

Gov. Brad Little called the news “heartbreaking” on Twitter. He said he hoped the victims’ families would be strengthened through prayer.

Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction hopeful Debbie Critchfield tweeted that action must be taken – specifically to implement a strategic plan to tackle a “mental health crisis” in Idaho and the country.

Idaho has limited experience with school shootings.

Last year, police reported a sixth-grade girl from Idaho Falls shot two students and a custodian at Rigby Middle School before a teacher was able to take the gun away from her.

Police in Twin Falls charged three students in a 2016 incident when a gun went off at Robert Steward Middle School. No one was hurt.

A 15-year-old boy fired two rounds from a shotgun at Notus Junior-Senior High School in 1999. They narrowly missed hitting several students, according to the Lewiston Tribune.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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