The House passed the Violence Against Women Act yesterday in a 263-158 vote, with 33 Republicans voting for the bill, and 157 voting against the re-authorization. The current law only bars gun ownership for convicted abusers who are married to their victim, live with their victim, or have a child with their victim. A new provision aimed at closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” would extend this gun ban to convicted stalkers, as well as current or past dating partners who are convicted of domestic abuse and those with restraining orders.
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick is the only GOP co-sponsor of the bill, stating “I understand for some of my colleagues that may be controversial. For me, it’s not…I think the biggest threat to the Second Amendment is when you allow all of these gun crimes to occur unaddressed, because that erodes people’s confidence and trust in people that are legitimately trying to protect themselves and their families and their homes.”
Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation, said in a statement: “I am pleased that the U.S. House has reauthorized VAWA, a bill I have advocated for and fought to improve for over 25 years…But our work is far from over. Unfortunately, the funding allocated in this bill is still not sufficient enough to support all of the domestic and sexual violence resources needed in the United States. Too many women still lose their jobs because of intimate partner violence. Half of women experiencing homelessness report that intimate partner violence is the immediate cause. Students at schools across the country are still fighting for fair treatment when they courageously report sexual assault.”
The NRA has opposed this bill, which has tested the loyalty of the 33 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. President Trump has not yet stated if he will sign the bill, which also must pass the Senate.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 4/2/19; NPR 4/4/19