Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that 131 other members of both parties support his effort to prevent harmful and last-minute legislative language or riders that could undo or prevent progress on work to prevent violence.
“We must have a thoughtful debate about gun violence in this country and consider policy changes deliberately. That’s why we cannot be legislating through riders that don’t receive full and fair consideration and that could have unintended consequences,” said Thompson. “That’s why I wrote to Congressional leaders, urging them to ensure we don’t include any harmful gun-related riders in our appropriations bills that could set back or degrade our efforts to advance policies to prevent gun violence. We must change our laws, but we must do it with serious consideration.”
Thompson’s letter was signed by 131 other members of both parties. Text of the letter is below:
May 3, 2018
The Honorable Paul D. Ryan The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Democratic Leader
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:
As the House Committee on Appropriations develops each of the twelve Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills, we urge that you ensure the Committee’s legislation not include harmful legislative language, or “riders,” that impact the enforcement of gun laws, the operations of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL), or research into the causes of gun violence and how to prevent it. Gun violence reduction and prevention is an important and sensitive issue. Given the renewed national focus on gun violence prevention, now is not the time to include controversial appropriations riders that negatively impact gun laws.
Instead, such changes to gun policy must be seriously and properly considered by Congress through the regular order. This must be done in an open and transparent process where a full range of options can be frankly discussed and debated by the proper committees of authorizing jurisdiction and the entire House of the Representatives. Over the past several years, various appropriations riders related to gun policy have had unintended consequences that could have been prevented had these issues been properly and more thoroughly debated in Congress.
For example, the Tiahrt and Rehberg amendments, among others, have prevented law enforcement from requiring FFLs to keep an inventory of their firearms, prevented law enforcement and academic institutions from using gun trace data to better understand the pattern of crime gun transfers, and chilled unbiased scientific research into the causes of gun violence and the means of preventing it.
As the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations process begins through the respective subcommittees, we urge you to support the development of legislation that is free of harmful gun-related riders. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.