Press Release

Giffords Condemns Senate Republicans for Refusal to Back House-Passed Violence Against Women Act

November 7, 2019 — Giffords, the gun safety organization co-founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released the following statement after Senator Joni Ernst, the lead Republican negotiator on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, declared the Senate would not include House-passed provisions to close the boyfriend and stalker loopholes that allow domestic abusers to obtain firearms.

Statement from Robin Lloyd, Giffords Managing Director:

“The United States Senate is allegedly the world’s greatest deliberative body. Yet after the House passed a bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act months ago, the Republican majority remained silent. Instead of putting the safety of women first and having an open debate, Senator Ernst and her Republican allies quietly put politics and the NRA wish list ahead of public safety. In the meantime, women continue to be threatened and harmed by guns in the hands of abusers. It’s unbelievable and unacceptable that we’re in this place today. American women and families need leadership, and we need it now.”

About the Gun Violence Prevention Measures in House-Passed VAWA Reauthorization:

The House-passed VAWA reauthorization would make two commonsense changes to federal law to prohibit perpetrators of dating violence and those convicted of misdemeanor stalking from legally accessing guns. The legislation would:

  • Close the Loophole That Lets Perpetrators of Dating Violence Access Guns: Current federal law prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses from accessing firearms (including individuals who are a current or former spouse, parent, parent of a child in common, current or former cohabitant, or a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim). However, current federal law does not prohibit perpetrators who abused current or former dating partners from having firearms. With more than half of all intimate partner homicides committed by dating partners, this gap leaves a significant number of abusers free to access firearms.
  • Close the Loophole That Lets Some Convicted Stalkers Access Guns: Under current federal law, individuals convicted of felony stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing guns, but individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses are not prohibited. With many first-time felons pleading down to misdemeanor charges, and with many stalkers going on to commit further violence, this legislation closes this gap in federal law so that all individuals convicted of stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing firearms.

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