Many of us know someone who either has been or is currently living in a home where there is domestic violence.
The concept of such a life is unimaginable to most of us. Even though it is a heartbreaking reality for them, women continue to stay in unsafe living conditions.
The limited protection offered to victims by America’s legal system combined with society’s views about the importance of maintaining a picture -perfect family life are two reasons for their reluctance to leave. These pressures often create a narrative that women have limited options and should stay in violent, dangerous relationships.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner in the United States.
Worldwide, six women are killed every hour by men in their family or their partners.
Men’s violence against women is a leading cause of premature death for women globally.
Research shows that 35 percent of all women killed by men are killed by an intimate partner with a firearm. This means wives and domestic partners are the most likely targets of men who feel the need to take out their frustrations on someone.
The United States House of Representatives recently managed to renew legislation that would benefit women in domestic violence situations.
They voted to renew the Violence Against Women Act. It was last reauthorized in 2013 but lapsed in 2018 after Congress failed to act due to partisan disputes over guns and transgender issues. It is a response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.
172 Republicans opposed the legislation because it adds firearms restrictions for people convicted of domestic violence, along with protections for transgender and same sex couples.
If you want to get a Republican politician fired up just start a conversation about gun restrictions, homosexuals or transgender issues.
The Republicans say they took issue with the concept of making or owning a firearm more difficult for people convicted of a violent crime or subject to court order.
An NRA spokesperson said the “anti-gun lawmakers chose to insert gun control provisions into this bill so they can claim other lawmakers don’t care about women.”
Now that is an interesting take on the matter, but if the shoe fits?
Some far-righters in Congress claim the gun control provision in the bill is “some kind of Democrat-led conspiracy” to end gun ownership.
Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa is crafting a counter proposal for the Senate. Ernst agreed the gun control protection would be a problem in the Senate, claiming it was “stripping away of people’s constitutional rights.”
The facts do not lie. The numbers are real.
It is exasperating to listen to the same, tired excuses every time anything is brought up that includes limiting access to firearms. The failure to see the need for certain violent individuals to be banned from owning a firearm is frightening.
Research suggests that Republican politicians are hostile to any gun control measures. Some scholars view gun ownership a “political identity.” Pro on the right and Con on the left.
Voting for any kind of restriction usually gets a politician labeled as “anti-gun” or too “far left.” These labels can you get voted out apparently.
Instead of considering restrictions of any kind, politicians are working overtime to enact legislation that promotes the carry and use of a firearm. Some states are considering expansions of current laws that will allow people to carry concealed weapons without having to obtain a permit.
A recent poll showed that most Republican voters are not universally opposed to restrictions on firearms. Most support expanded background checks and a majority support requiring a license to carry a gun.
That makes zero sense if Republican politicians are responsible for representing their voters.
This bill also authorizes funding for grants and other forms of support. It includes provisions to make safe housing more accessible to victims of domestic violence. Statistics show that conditions during the pandemic have resulted in increases of intimate partner violence and severe injuries.
Passing legislation that makes it illegal for a person who has been convicted of committing domestic violence against his partner from owing a firearm is the responsible thing to do.
Yes, American citizens have a second amendment right to carry a gun. What they do not have a right to do is take that gun and kill or threaten their wife or domestic partner. There should be consequences for those actions.
If Washington politicians do not see the big picture here, they need to visit some shelters and talk to the families of the abused. And maybe visit a few graveyards.
This should not be about red or blue. It should be about offering protections to victims.
Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.