Violence Against Women Act Goes Too Far On Red Flags

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Violence Against Women Act is one of those things that, in concept, everyone can agree on. Domestic violence is a terrible thing that destroys people’s lives every single day. Taking steps to address that is, ultimately, a good thing.

The problem is that Democrats are trying to use it to push a completely different agenda. They’ve been pushing to close something called the “boyfriend loophole.” Basically, they want domestic violence laws to extend beyond the confines of marriage so even a boyfriend can lose their gun rights forever.

It’s been a point of contention.

Now, there’s a new one. It seems they want to push red flag laws, and once again, they’re going too far with even that.

The Violence Against Women Act of 2021 (VAWA), which passed the House in the Spring and could now be taken up by the Senate, contains a red flag provision applying even to those involved in non-romantic relationships.

The Los Angeles Times reported the VAWA, which passed the House in March, contained language to expand federal domestic partner laws to include boyfriends and dating partners. The expansion allows the inclusion of gun bans for boyfriends with a domestic violence conviction and also “expands the prohibition to current and former dating partners, as well as those convicted of misdemeanor stalking.”

In addition to expanding federal law to apply domestic partner rules to non-domestic partner relationships, the text of the VAWA makes clear that the prohibitions contained within the Act apply to relationships that are not even romantic in nature.

For example, under the heading “Prohibiting Persons Convicted of Misdemeanor Crimes Against Dating Partners and Subject to Protection Orders,” the Act states:

Nothing in this paragraph may be construed to require that sexual contact between two persons have occurred to establish the existence of any relationship for purposes of this paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘dating partner’ means, with respect to person, a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person.

It appears that a “social relationship” that may be “intimate” but not “romantic” falls under the purview of the VAWA as well.

Now, let’s understand something here. In this day and age, friends do things that “just friends” didn’t do back in my day. The term “friends with benefits” wasn’t a normal part of everyday life.

Today, it’s not…well, I don’t know how common it actually is, but it’s far from unheard of.

What this does, though, is make it so a guy who sleeps with a girl one time can now be charged with domestic abuse later on. Their relationship has been intimate and it is a social relationship, so…

I’m not going to defend anyone smacking a woman around. Don’t get me wrong here. The problem, though, is that each little expansion of who can be prohibited will sound reasonable enough on its own. In this case, it’s just about people who beat up their girlfriends without being married or living together.

Yet then they make up the definition and it’s broad. So broad that it will cause problems.

Imagine, for example, a guy and his female friend sleep together one night. They don’t do it again but remain friends. At least, they do until the day she starts railing at him, calling him all kinds of vile things. He said something she didn’t like and now she’s laying into him. Then she says something that crosses a line and he loses himself for a moment and slaps her.

I’m not saying he’s justified, but if she’d have been a man he’d have thrown down and beaten her to a bloody pulp, it was that bad.

So what happens?

He gets charged. Assuming the judge doesn’t agree that she crossed a line–“fighting words” are a thing, after all–then he’s convicted of domestic violence under this law.

Should he be? I don’t think so, and that’s kind of the problem here.

This is, as noted previously, just another case of trying to inch forward with the number of people prohibited from having guns until almost no one will qualify.

However, let’s also remember that the original article isn’t talking about the boyfriend loophole. It’s talking about a red flag provision. With this definition in place, it can get even weirder.

Take the couple from my earlier example, only she’s not gone off on him about anything. They’re still friends, but she finds out he owns guns. In her mind, anyone who has a gun is dangerous–this isn’t a strawman, either. I’ve dealt with people like this in my own personal life–so she decides to take steps. Maybe she thinks she’s doing her friend a favor. Regardless, their one sexual encounter would allow her to get his weapons taken, even if only for a few days.

If you can’t see the issue here, then you’re probably dense enough to have your own gravitational field.

And Democrats wonder why Republicans won’t sign onto a bill that, ostensibly, everyone should agree with.