An legislative debate over a phrase in a bill expanding the definition of domestic violence turned into a physical altercation and a threat to get a gun in the Louisiana state capitol this week, and as a result the bill in question has been pulled entirely from consideration by the sponsor.
Rep. Malinda White, a Democrat who represents the Bogalusa area in the state legislature, had already grown frustrated after the National Rifle Association expressed opposition to her legislation over concerns that the changes she wanted would make it easier to confiscate firearms from those accused of emotional (but not physical) “coercion, control, and intimidation.”
@NRA Welcome to today’s public negotiating table. You don’t own this conversation with whiny threats unless you have walked in our shoes and stand with us to protect our lives. 👠 Your credibility is weak and will become weaker when you take a stand for terrorist. I guarantee.
— Malinda B White (@MalindaBWhite) May 14, 2021
White’s frustrations allegedly boiled over into threats of physical violence during Wednesday’s legislative session.
“She said either let me get my gun and finish this or I’m going to get my gun and we can finish this,” Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) claimed.
… Seabaugh said White regularly brags about having a gun either in her purse or desk and he believed her alleged threat to be credible.
He added the bill, which he claims would have been a “radical departure” from current Louisiana law, contained the phrase “household members” and he wanted it changed to state, “family members,” instead. Seabaugh, an attorney, said he tried to explain how the two terms could legally be interpreted differently.
“I told her that I understand you’re not a lawyer and don’t know the difference. Then, she absolutely lost her mind. She started screaming and her face turned purple,” explained Seabaugh.
At that point, he claims White grabbed him by the arm and threatened him.
He said state Rep. John Stefanski (R-Crowley) had to jump up and pulled White off of him.
White hasn’t confirmed that she said anything about getting her gun, but did admit to reporters that she got “upset” with Seabaugh during the debate, saying that as a victim of domestic violence herself she was “triggered” by Seabaugh’s comments.
“Because he said I didn’t know a damn thing about it and I’ve suffered it.”
She told reporters she does keep a gun in her vehicle for protection.
Now, I don’t have a problem with White having a firearm in her car at the state capitol. In fact, I think lawmakers, staffers, and the public should be able to lawfully carry in the statehouse. However, if you’re a responsible gun owner you have to keep your cool, even when conversations get heated.
As a result of White’s outburst, the bill that White was hoping to get passed has been pulled from the legislative calendar altogether.
White decided on Thursday, June 10, to defer the bill, which would have expanded the definition of domestic abuse to include coercion and control. She apologized for disappointing survivors of abuse and vowed to try again next year to get the bill passed.
She added she removed the bill from consideration for “the best interest of the legislative body” after the drama that took place on the House floor Wednesday when she allegedly threatened Seabaugh with gun violence.
If White really wants to see this measure passed, I suggest she find another lawmaker to sponsor it. I can’t imagine that the Democrat is going to have much luck working with her colleagues in the future after allegedly threatening one of them, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up getting the endorsement of Moms Demand Action the next time she’s up for re-election.