NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is launching $100,000 in digital advertisements in ten U.S. House districts highlighting Representatives who voted for and against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1585), which passed the House of Representatives by a 263-158 vote last week, including support from 33 Republicans. H.R. 1585 includes life-saving gun safety provisions that are common-sense and bipartisan. Ahead of House passage of the bill, the NRA came out in opposition to it and announced that it would score the vote because it would close the “boyfriend loophole,” and help disarm domestic abusers.
Specifically, the Facebook ads thank five lawmakers who voted for the legislation, including Reps. Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Hurd (R-TX), King (R-NY) and Upton (R-MI), and criticize five lawmakers who voted against it, including Reps. Bacon (R-NE), Peterson (D-MN), Roy (R-TX), Stefanik (R-NY) and Watkins (R-KS).
“When it comes to the Violence Against Women Act, Everytown wants to make sure voters know whether their lawmaker stood up for the victims of domestic violence — or backed down in the face of NRA pressure,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
Examples of the advertisements are below:
Key gun safety provisions in H.R. 1585 include:
- H.R. 1585 would protect women from abusive dating partners by ensuring that their abusers are prohibited from possessing guns under federal law—using the definition of “dating partner” already contained in the Violence Against Women Act. Current federal law already prohibits gun possession by people convicted of or under a restraining order for abusing their spouses, but generally does not cover abuse between dating partners. This gap in the law has become increasingly deadly: The share of homicides committed by dating partners has been increasing for three decades, and now women are as likely to be killed by dating partners as by spouses.
- H.R. 1585 would also protect women from domestic abusers by ensuring the FBI informs state law enforcement when domestic abusers fail a background check and are stopped from purchasing a firearm. This notice gives state law enforcement an opportunity to intervene before the abuser can obtain a firearm elsewhere or do further harm.
Women in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries. Put another way, 92 percent of all women killed with guns in high-income countries in 2015 were from the United States. And an astonishing share of this gun violence in America is driven by domestic violence. In an average month, at least 52 American women are shot and killed by an intimate partner, and many more are injured. Nearly 1 million women in the U.S. alive today have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner. More information about America’s lethal domestic violence problem is available here.
The gun lobby’s proposed solution is to arm women rather than focusing on policies that disarm domestic abusers. There is no research to support the notion that owning a gun increases safety for women; in fact, studies have shown the opposite. Compared to men, women living in households with a firearm are at greater risk of the weapon being used to harm them. And the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed by an abuser.