157 Republicans Voted Against Renewing the Violence Against Women Act

Yep, you read that right. On April 4th, 2019, 157 Republicans voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which was originally put in place in 1994 to protect women from domestic abuse and dating violence, and to also punish their abusers. The Act was still renewed, but the reason people voted against the renewal of the whole Act is astounding.

Apparently, the Republicans who opposed this act were pushed to do so by the NRA (National Rifle Association), a group that often lobbies on Capitol Hill to keep guns accessible to everyone. The NRA wasn’t against the whole bill, but instead they were against a certain small clause in the Act. 

The clause that so many people were opposed to is known as the “boyfriend loophole,” which makes it so that men convicted of VAWA misdemeanor charges such as stalking can’t legally obtain guns. 

Now, it is known that the NRA has a very rigid view that anyone should be able to obtain a gun at any time, and they are known to influence politicians to vote against bills that oppose these views. But why did they think the VAWA vote was the best time to push this agenda?

By voting against VAWA, the Republicans (and the NRA) took a very anti-feminist view. Not only did they entirely oppose an act just for one loophole-- they also publicly voted against a bill entirely in place to prevent domestic abuse and to protect female victims. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, the VAWA was originally in place to “prevent violent crime; respond to the needs of crime victims; learn more about crime; and change public attitudes through a collaborative effort by the criminal justice system, social service agencies,research organizations, schools, public health organizations, and private organizations. The federal government tries to achieve these goals primarily through federal grant programs that provide funding to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments; nonprofit organizations; and universities.” 

This Act was revolutionary because it offered harsher punishments for repeat federal sex offenders, who, before the Act was passed, would simply receive the same punishment at each offense. The VAWA was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2015, all in which there were lesser issues with the “boyfriend loophole.” So why now? Why is this becoming a bigger issue now than ever?

I think the NRA is scared. There have been so many shootings and threats to toughen up gun laws lately that the NRA is grappling for more support. They are grabbing at straws to keep their guns safe, as shown by their dedication in convincing 157 Republicans to vote no to the VAWA. 

Ladies, it’s time to protect our rights. Protect the acts that are protecting us, because without them, we wouldn’t be nearly as legally protected as we are today. Pay attention to these kinds of things from now on. The VAWA passed for reauthorization, but the vote was split 263-158 (plus 1 present and 9 non-voters). 

We have to watch out for our rights ladies-- they may be (inadvertently) trying to take them away.