Gabrielle Giffords Praises the Swift, Bipartisan Passage of Violence Against Women Act, Urges the Senate to Act
VAWA includes measures to make it harder for domestic abusers to obtain firearms
Washington, DC—Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, founder of the gun safety organization Giffords, praised the House of Representatives for reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with new provisions to close the boyfriend and stalker loopholes that have allowed abusers to obtain firearms. Now that the legislation has been passed by the House, Giffords calls on the Senate to take up the bill.
The passage came as The New York Timesother outlets have reported on the Atlanta-area shooting and found, “all but one of the people killed were women and six of them were Asian, according to law enforcement officials.”
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
“As the House prepares to vote on the Violence Against Women Act today, I’m thinking of the six Asian women who were killed yesterday in Georgia. No one policy can stop every tragedy, but we must do everything in our power to make women safer from gun violence.
“It should anger all of us how many abusers and stalkers are able to slip through cracks in our laws and obtain guns. This past year, as households were forced to shelter in place, the problem became worse as we saw an explosion in violence, too often including a gun. It’s time to better protect victims of domestic violence and save lives by passing this legislation. Congress understands this horrifying reality and the House has again taken action. The responsibility to protect women and their families now falls to the Senate. With lives at stake there is no time to waste.”
About the New Gun Violence Prevention Measures in VAWA
The 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.
- FACT SHEET: Gun Provisions in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021