Seidman: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater

Seidman: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater

Gun Rights

Hide caption Lawmakers fight renewal of the universally popular Violence Against Women Act due to gun amendment. Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act with overwhelming, bipartisan support. Since 1994, the legislation has prohibited spouses or former spouses convicted of felony domestic abuse from purchasing and owning firearms, while funding rape crisis centers, shelters and legal services for victims of domestic violence. About every five years since, the bill has been tweaked and reauthorized. The current version expired during the government shutdown last year and was temporarily renewed before it expired again in February. Last week the Democrat-dominated House voted for reauthorization, sending the bill on to a dubious fate in the Senate. But for legislation that has, in the past, enjoyed almost unanimous support, the vote — 263-158 — was disconcerting. Why would 158 lawmakers vote against a bill that provides aid and justice to the one in three women who experience domestic abuse nationwide? And why would so many representatives from Florida, where one in five homicides are the result of domestic violence , join the opposition? Because a new amendment to the bill calls for denial of a firearm to unmarried, as well as married, partners convicted of domestic violence — closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” — as well as to anyone with a misdemeanor conviction for domestic abuse. Opponents had sought a “clean” continuation of the bill as it previously stood without the additions (which also included language allowing transgender individuals access […]

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