U.S. Representative Mike Thompson, the Napa Democrat who represents part of Martinez in the House, said 131 Congressional members of both major parties support his effort to prevent last-minute legislative language, or “riders” he said could undo or prevent progress on his work to prevent gun violence.
Thompson composed and sent his letter, with the bipartisan support, to both the Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and to the former Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
The letter notes that the House Committee on Appropriations is developing 12 Fiscal Year 2019 bills, and asks for assurance that legislation not include legislative language, or riders that would impact the enforcement of gun laws, the operation s of Federal Firearm Licensees (FFL) or research into the cause of gun violence and its prevention.
“Gun violence reduction is an important and sensitive issue,” Thompson wrote. “Given the renewed national focus on gun violence prevention, now is not the time to include appropriations riders that negatively impact gun laws.”
In the letter, he cited examples of amendments that have prevented law enforcement from requiring Federal Firearms Licensees to keep an inventory of their firearms, prevented law enforcement and academic institutions from using gun trace data to understand better the patterns of crime gun transfers and reduced unbiased scientific research into causes of gun violence and how to prevent it.
“We must have a thoughtful debate about gun violence in this country and consider policy changes deliberately,” Thompson said. “That’s why we cannot be legislating through riders that don’t receive full and fair consideration and that could have unintended consequences.”
He said that is why he wrote the letter. We must change our laws, but we must do it with serious consideration.”