Once upon a time, there were only a handful of people who couldn’t purchase a firearm lawfully. We primarily kept it to convicted felons. After all, most of them were generally violent anyway, so why not make it as difficult for those people as possible?
However, somewhere along the way, we decided to include domestic abusers in there as well. While these people haven’t committed a felony, the law was expanded so husbands who are violent toward their spouse couldn’t have guns either. After all, far too many of those guys end up killing their wives, we were told.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced the same Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill passed by the House, days after they say talks with Republicans about a compromise broke down over controversial gun provisions.
The entire Democratic caucus has backed the bill, which has provisions restricting gun rights of certain convicts that helped spur the split with Senate Republicans. While promoting the measure during a news conference Wednesday, Democrats blamed the National Rifle Association’s sway in the chamber for the Republicans’ reluctance to back the bill.
“We call on our Republican colleagues to not hide in the shadows here … to at least stand up to the NRA on this very focused provision,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a presidential candidate, said at the event.
The House bill would lower the criminal threshold to bar someone from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of stalking and a broader swath of domestic abuse crimes. The law currently applies to felony convictions and a subset of misdemeanors.
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has remained controversial since its original passage in 1994. The law started with a focus on abuse between married partners and has slowly expanded in subsequent reauthorizations.
And that’s the problem right there, something I’m very surprised to see The Hill acknowledge.
You see, while many on this side of the fence can look at wife beaters and say, “Yeah, I’m not defending those snot-goblins,” the list of who gets lumped in with them continues to grow time and time again, all while simply being called wife beaters or just domestic abusers in media discussions.
This latest effort will see “boyfriends” lumped into that category, which is problematic all on its own. After all, we can tell if a couple are married because there’s usually a marriage license in most states. We can tell if a couple is cohabitating because they share an address.
However, in some relationships, there’s no official indication that such a relationship exists, yet an assault from these less formal relationships could result in someone losing their gun rights for life.
Hell, there doesn’t even need to be a relationship. If she says “he’s my boyfriend,” then it’s up to the guy to try and prove they’re not in a relationship as well as his innocence. While some courts will want to see more than just her word, some others may not.
Further, this will increase the burden on local communities. After all, taking away a civil liberty may well require those communities to perform jury trials for these cases, similar to what a Nevada court ruled in the case of Las Vegas.
So yeah, this is a non-starter for a lot of us.
To be blunt, we’re sick and tired of having to drop back over and over again in the name of “compromise” when the other side refuses to give up a damn inch. If they can be recalcitrant, so can we. In fact, we welcome it at this point.