The House Rebukes the NRA in Advancing Domestic Violence Legislation - Rolling Stone
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The House Rebukes the NRA in Advancing Domestic Violence Legislation

Dozens of GOP representatives ignore the gun lobby’s threats and vote to disarm abusers

A pro-gun control demonstrator holds a sign in opposition to the National Rifle Association (NRA) during a rally and march in Brea, California, USA, 04 August 2018. Participants also held signs depicting victims of the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.Protest against the NRA in Southern California, Brea, USA - 04 Aug 2018

A pro-gun control demonstrator holds a sign in opposition to the National Rifle Association (NRA) during a rally and march in Brea, California.

Eugene Garcia/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Bucking the National Rifle Association, the House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming margin Thursday to reauthorize an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act — including provisions to disarm domestic abusers and stalkers. The vote total was 263-158, with nearly three dozen Republicans backing the measure.

In recent days, the NRA announced its intention to block this version of VAWA, with the gun lobby vowing to lower its letter grades for politicians who voted for the bill and its expanded gun-safety provisions.

“It is a shame that some in the gun-control community treat the severity of domestic violence so trivially that they are willing to use it as a tool to advance a political agenda,” NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker said, adding that the gun group, which has received millions in funding from the firearms industry, was focused on arming and training the potential victims of abuse instead.

The case for expanding the gun provisions of VAWA is backed by striking statistics: Victims of domestic abuse are five times more likely to be killed if their partner is a gun-owner. And states that have moved to confiscate guns from domestic abusers have seen intimate partner homicides drop by 7 percent.

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed as part of the 1994 crime bill, introduced by then- Sen. Joe Biden, and must periodically be renewed. Once non-controversial, VAWA votes a have become fraught with partisanship.

The House vote was praised by leaders of the gun safety movement. The renewal of VAWA now heads to the Republican controlled Senate, where its prospects for passage are uncertain.

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