Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019 - Today, the House of Representatives voted in a clear bipartisan fashion to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, crucial legislation aimed at protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence. Brady hailed the vote, noting in particular the importance of closing the “boyfriend loophole” and preventing people convicted of abusing dating partners from buying and owning guns.
Brady president Kris Brown stated,
“When domestic abusers have easy access to guns, women pay the price with their lives. A woman is shot and killed by a current or former partner every 16 hours in America. It’s clear that we need to take action, not sides, in putting an end to this epidemic. It’s unfortunate that some chose to misrepresent and politicize this important legislation, but today’s vote is powerful proof that we will rise above that sort of rhetoric in our country. For every victim of domestic violence, for every child who watches a parent terrorized by their partner, and for every life that will be saved by this important legislation - we see you, we stand with you, and we will fight for you to protect you from violence.”
Under federal law, dating partners who do not share a child in common can still legally purchase and own guns, even if they abuse their partners. Additionally, persons convicted of stalking, battery, and assault misdemeanors can still purchase and possess guns. The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act would update federal law to close these dangerous loopholes. It does not include any language regarding extreme risk laws.
- Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries;
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent;
- Over the past 10 years, over 3,000 women have been shot and killed by a husband or intimate partner in the course of an argument;
- In 2016, 1 out of every 3 women murdered was killed by an intimate partner;
- According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 161 women have already been killed in a gun-related domestic violence incident in 2019.
To learn more about the dangerous connections between guns and domestic violence, read Brady’s 2018 report, “Beyond Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers.”
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.