Gun debate engulfs government funding bills

The gun debate is taking shape as lawmakers turn their attention toward funding the government.

House Democrats are raising alarms about controversial pro-gun policies they believe Republicans will try to sneak into government funding bills for 2017.

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These so-called “gun riders” face less scrutiny than stand-alone legislation and have a better chance of approval if they are attached to must-pass spending bills. 

In a letter sent Thursday, more than 100 lawmakers, mostly Democrats, called on House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year MORE (R-Wis.) to reject these gun riders in favor of an “open debate” on these policies.

“Such changes to gun policy must be seriously and properly considered by Congress through the regular order,” they wrote. "This must be done in an open and transparent process where a full range of options can be frankly discussed and debated."

The Democrats, led by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), pointed to passed government funding bills that have included such gun language. 

At least one Republican — Rep. Pete King (N.Y.) — signed the letter.