Gun Rights And Domestic Violence

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Wife-beaters don’t get to have guns.

Current federal laws mean anyone convicted of domestic violence, even if just a misdemeanor, doesn’t get to have a firearm ever again. This was passed because there was concern that if these individuals had firearms, they’d murder their wives in a moment of anger, so they couldn’t be trusted with guns.

And, for the most part, few people take issue with it. While some can argue against it, there’s no real concerted effort to try and roll back that bit of legislation, and for a reason. No one wants to side with wife-beaters.

However, time and time again, anti-gun forces want to expand definitions so as to pretend they’re not really passing new gun control laws. And then the media decides to carry their water with mockeries to journalism like this:

American conservatives’ peculiar attachment to Second Amendment absolutism and what can only be described as a religion of gun ownership isn’t only manifested in stubborn opposition to the mildest forms of free-standing firearm-safety legislation, it also pops up on other issues where compelling interests collide with the cult of the gun. That includes the supposedly bipartisan and cross-ideological cause of domestic-violence prevention.

Note: This is not listed as opinion, either, but instead is labeled as “Politics.”

After a two-year lapse in the 1994 law (originally championed by then-Senator Joe Biden), the House voted this week to renew the Violence Against Women Act — but 172 House Republicans opposed it, with many citing concerns over the bill’s provisions closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” in existing gun laws. Currently, spouses and ex-spouses convicted of domestic abuse or under court restraining orders cannot legally purchase firearms. The bill would extend that prohibition to those previously in dating relationships.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene faithfully echoed the idea that guns are the solution to every problem, not a problem in themselves, as the New York Times reports:

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, pushed unsuccessfully for amendments that would allow the government to fund firearm training and self-defense classes for women.

“If you want to protect women, make sure women are gun owners and know how to defend themselves,” she said. “That’s the greatest defense for women.”

This was interesting timing; Greene was touting the salvific power of shooting irons on the very day that the nation was focused on a gun massacre just outside her district that left six Asian women and two other people dead. She presumably would argue that fitting out all potential victims of guns violence with firearms would take care of the racist and misogynistic threat the murders dramatized.

Neat little trick the writer pulled here.

First, he invokes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who he knows is kind of a joke outside of her base supporters. This discredits the argument simply because the person uttering it is discredited.

Except, Greene is right. I’ve said as much and so have a lot of other people. That’s irrelevant, though, when you’re trying to set up a kind of strawman argument.

Second, he invokes the Atlanta shooting to rile people up. However, the problem with that is that if even one of the women at the first place the shooter visited had been armed, we’d be writing very different stories these days. Frankly, I doubt anyone outside of the pro-gun media would be talking all that much about it.

See, we know things would have been different because of a recent attempted mass shooting at a gun store. A man started shooting and armed employees ended the threat.

My issue with the new Violence Against Women Act is that by expanding the definition of who is a domestic abuser, you’re going to find people barred from their right to keep and bear arms who should never be barred from it. A boyfriend who grabs his girlfriend’s arm as she storms away from him, not realizing that’s technically assault shouldn’t be treated the same as the guy who smacks his wife around nightly just on some warped general principle. They’re not even in the same league.

Further, determining who is dating who and who is romantically involved with who can be complicated in this day and age. Where does the line really end up being drawn? One date? Two? The occasional booty call? Where?

And all of this is predicated on the idea that men are invariably the abusers. I mean, look at the name of the bill?

Meanwhile, one in four men has been abused by a partner, compared to one in three for women.

Now, granted, men are bigger and stronger and are less likely to be injured because of that abuse, but firearms have always been the great equalizer. Arm women and empower them to put down the rabid dog abusers if it comes to that and watch society end up better for it.

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Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET