Stalkers shouldn’t have guns: What the Violence Against Women Act gets right

Stalkers shouldn’t have guns: What the Violence Against Women Act gets right

Gun Rights

If you’re convicted of stalking, you shouldn’t own a gun. Many Republicans disagree and complain that this provision in the Violence Against Women Act shatters Americans’ Second Amendment rights. It doesn’t. The bill, passed in the Democrat-controlled House on Thursday, is not perfect. When it comes to gun control, though, the Violence Against Women Act is not only constitutional but essential for victims of domestic abuse. Since former President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has aimed at protecting victims of domestic crimes. Congress must renew the bill every few years, and each update tweaks its content. The latest iteration, its fourth renewal, would close the “boyfriend loophole.” Anyone convicted of abusing, assaulting, or stalking someone they’ve dated, and anyone under a restraining order would not be allowed to purchase or own a firearm. Of course, the National Rifle Association isn’t happy . Because stalking is a misdemeanor, a low-level crime, the NRA argues that the ban would go too far. But anyone who’s worked with domestic violence victims will tell you that intimate-partner violence against women begins with obsession and only gets worse later, especially if the victim tries to escape. Stalking can quickly turn deadly if intention meets opportunity. According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 7 women has been stalked by an intimate partner in a way that made her fearful, sometimes for her life. I used to volunteer at a shelter for […]

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