Washington, D.C., November 7, 2019 – When 1 in 4 adult women in the United States have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, delaying the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is unconscionable. Today, Brady decried actions in the Senate that will delay reauthorization of VAWA and strip from it provisions closing ‘the boyfriend loophole’ and allowing guns to remain in the hands of domestic abusers.
Brady President Kris Brown stated:
“Shame on Sen. Ernst for abandoning action on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This decision endangers all Americans, especially women of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Nine out of 10 black women murdered by men are killed by someone they know and 61 percent of bisexual women and 44 percent of lesbians have been the victim of rape, physical violence, or stalking by a partner. This action leaves these communities less safe.
In the United States, a woman is shot and killed by a current or former partner every 16 hours and, in 2018 alone, there were 653 gun-related domestic violence fatalities. Sen. Ernst stated that she wants to modernize VAWA, but any modernized bill must stop domestic abusers from accessing firearms – period. Currently, loopholes exist in federal law that prevent law enforcement from removing guns from domestic abusers unless they are ‘married to, live with, or have a child with the victim.’ But abuse doesn’t begin or end with these criteria. The bipartisan bill which Sen. Ernst jettisoned accounts for this, modernizing VAWA to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’ and allowing law enforcement to remove weapons from abusers irrespective of marital status, recognizing that a person who has demonstrated dangerous and violent behavior should not have access to a gun. Sen. Ernst said that ‘election year politics are in full swing.’ If so, voters will remember her deserting survivors come next November.”
Brady calls on the Senate to immediately reconsider and then pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019.
For more background on the tragic intersection between gun violence and domestic violence, please see Brady’s October 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.