The House approved renewal of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday, including new language prohibiting gun sales to those convicted in more cases of domestic violence.
The most controversial are new provisions to lower the criminal threshold to bar someone from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking charges. Current law applies to felony convictions, according to NPR, adding that it would also close the so-called "boyfriend loophole" to expand existing firearm prohibitions to include dating partners convicted of abuse or stalking charges.
"If we are doing a Violence Against Women Act and we are trying to save lives, why would you not close a simple loophole that says if someone has been convicted — convicted, not accused — convicted of domestic violence, that they not have access to a gun?" U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.
Rolling Stone outlined the risk:
The case for stripping domestic abusers of their guns is powerful. An abused woman is five times more likely to be killed if the abuser is a gun-owner. When a domestic violence assault involves a firearm, it is 12 times more likely to end in the death of the victim. Laws like the red-flag provision proposed for VAWA save lives: In states adopting laws permitting confiscation of firearms from domestic abusers, intimate partner homicides have dropped by 7 percent.
The N.R.A. seized on new measures and warned Congress that it would track and publish how lawmakers voted, hoping to intimidate Republicans and Democrats in Republican-leaning districts, according to The New York Times:
Republicans also opposed the bill over provisions aimed at protecting transgender people, including transgender inmates, from violence, according to thinkprogress.org:
Most Republicans voted against the bill, according to NBC News:
But 157 Republicans voted against it, along with one Democrat, according to AOL:
All Things Considered noted:
It now faces a fight in the Senate, according to Vox:
Snopes published the text covering changes to the law proposed in the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2019: