The Hill: Pelosi pushes to end ban on gun research

December 10, 2015
By: Sarah Ferris

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is adding another wrinkle to this year’s budget battle, pressing for the end of a decades-old policy banning most federal research on gun violence.

“We must insist that we cannot have a bill leave the station that still has that ban in it,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday at a press briefing to mark the third anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., shootings.

GOP leaders are almost certain to reject Pelosi’s demand to eliminate the 17-year-old provision, known as the Dickey amendment, in the year-end government funding bill. A spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) did not immediately have a comment.

Republicans enacted the ban in 1997 after fierce lobbying from groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA). Gun rights supporters have long claimed that government agencies use studies to advance gun control, something researchers deny.

“This bill would say to the NRA that you no longer have a stranglehold on information, on research,” she said.

Pelosi did not say, however, that Democrats would oppose the year-end government spending bill if the rider is again included.

When asked if it would become a line in the sand, she told reporters, "What we're saying, this is a priority for us."

When pressed again on Democrats’ commitment, she said: "That's not the question. The question is — we do this one step at a time."

Pelosi spoke alongside a half-dozen other House and Senate Democrats at Thursday's press conference, which was hosted by the Newtown Action Alliance.

"In a public health crisis the important treasure is facts, evidence," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. "If the CDC was prohibited from collecting information about Ebola, think of the outcry."