Well it seems that the 2019 reauthorization of VAWA (Violence Against Women Act, originally passed in 1994) may be stalled in congress. We think it’s worth a conversation as to where (and why) The Liberal Gun Club comes down on the issue. We’ve also been consistent on this for years and invite you to read more about it on our page about Root Cause Mitigation.
However, House Republicans broadly object to at least four new policies added to the bill to reauthorize VAWA — which expired in February when Democrats objected to GOP efforts to include a short-term extension of the law in a spending deal. But 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.
This is actually not true. On the 4473 (the form that is filled out to purchase firearms from a licensed dealer or in some states for a private party sale as well), it states in question 11 i.:
Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?
It goes on, in the certification section:
I understand that a person who answers “yes” to any of the questions 11.b through 11.i and/or 12.b through 12.c is prohibited from purchasing or receiving a firearm.
It is still illegal, under federal law, if you have a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence, to purchase or receive a firearm. What federal law does not directly address is possession. This bill clarifies that (paragraph 34, section C), and specifically prohibits possession by people convicted of these domestic violence crimes.
It also expands the definition of included individuals to dating partners as well as spouses, parents, and children (dating partners, regardless of sexual orientation). It specifically includes convictions in Tribal courts. It also provides protections for Transgender citizens. It does a bunch of things unrelated to firearms, including extensive due process protections for victims.
There is simply no reasonable explanation as to why these would be excluded. Domestic violence is domestic violence.
There are reasons to be wary of ANY law that would permanently remove the constitutional rights of someone. It speaks to whether or not we, as a country and society truly believe in rehabilitation. With that said, if there was a class of individuals who indeed should be held to that standard, domestic violence abusers are in that class.
We’ve taken domestic violence far too lightly in this country for decades, it’s time we change that. If this helps actually clarify and enforce existing law, that’s appropriate.