When a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, the risk of the victim being murdered rises by 500%.
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes a revision that closes the "boyfriend loophole" by extending existing gun restrictions to include current and former dating partners who have been convicted of domestic abuse.
Currently, people convicted of domestic abuse are only prohibited from owning guns if they live with the victim, have a child with them, or they are--or have once been--married to them. This new provision would extend the law to unmarried intimate partners, as well as those with stalking convictions.
Although we are pleased that the House voted to reauthorize VAWA with this new provision, there is concern that the Senate will not vote to authorize this version that is inclusive of unmarried intimate partners. The importance of understanding the real-life effects of legislation on victims is critical.
WTLC takes an active role in educating lawmakers and legislators on issues surrounding domestic and intimate partner violence. We will continue to support our state and national partners to urge the senate to pass the VAWA re-authorization with these key enhancements.