The compilation of legislator scores for LEAP Forward’s report cards is a two-step process utilizing Bill Track Pro from BillTrack50.

Selecting graded legislation

Legislation containing the word “firearm or firearms” is tagged and reviewed by me before determining whether it will be selected as a graded bill. Once added to LEAP Forward’s database of graded legislation, the bill is assigned a score of either + or - 1 based on whether action on that bill will be scored in either support or opposition. Bills actively being whipped by the NRA are given extra weight, assigned a score of + or - 3.


Legislators have three different opportunities to take scored action on bills: by sponsoring legislation, by voting in committee, and by voting for final passage with the full House or Senate. A legislator’s “total score” is simply a sum of those actions. For example, a legislator who sponsors a key bill, votes for it in committee, then votes for final passage, could accumulate +9 or -9 points depending on how that legislation is being scored.

“Vote index” is a separate metric that simply gives a value from 0 to 100 based only on votes taken on legislation, either in committee or on final passage. This is the metric LEAP Forward will be using to recommend candidates for reelection.

Members who miss votes or abstain will be assigned a 0% for that vote.