More than seven months after House Democrats passed a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, Senate Republicans have introduced their own weaker version of the bill.
Unlike the House version, the Republican bill doesn’t eliminate the “boyfriend loophole,” a measure that would prevent those convicted of abusing their dating partners from acquiring a gun. The House version would also stop people with misdemeanor charges of stalking or domestic abuse from purchasing a firearm.
“Months ago, the House passed a bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act with strong protections for survivors who are threatened by armed domestic abusers. Yet the Senate majority’s only response is a bill that maintains easy access to firearms for individuals with a record of threatening behavior and criminal convictions,” said Robin Lloyd of Giffords, a national gun safety group.
As talks over the competing bills continue in the upper chamber, Sen. John Cornyn, who helped introduce the Republican bill last week as one of its 10 cosponsors, has been trying to shift the blame to Democrats. “Democrats walked away from the negotiating table to pursue their own partisan reauthorization,” he complained two weeks ago.
In 2012 and 2013, Cornyn voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, as the Signal first reported in June.
The current impasse over the “boyfriend loophole” and other provisions is another example of how the gun lobby’s investment in Cornyn– more than $200,000 in campaign contributions since 2002– continues to pay off.
Research cited by Everytown for Gun Safety shows access to firearms in incidents of domestic violence makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed. As a result, women in the U.S. are 25 times more likely to be killed by a gun than women in other high-income countries.
Cornyn has yet to produce any meaningful argument against the measure to prevent gun deaths and has only managed to accuse Democrats of playing politics.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at email@example.com