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Everytown, Moms Demand Action Statement on Senator Feinstein’s Introduction of Senate Companion to Bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, released the following statement today applauding Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for introducing the Senate companion to the House-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which includes life-saving measures to keep guns away from domestic abusers. Every member of the Senate Democratic Caucus has signed on as an original co-sponsor of this legislation.

In April, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, with support from 33 Republican representatives. That legislation and Sen. Feinstein’s companion measure include provisions to disarm abusive dating partners and stalkers. Yet last week, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) announced that she and her fellow Republicans would not advance the House-passed version of VAWA reauthorization.

“Lawmakers should be doing everything humanly possible to keep guns away from domestic abusers — and that’s why Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans should pass the bipartisan VAWA reauthorization bill sent to them by the House,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re grateful to Senator Feinstein for introducing it in the Senate today.”

“It’s appalling that months after House passage, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are refusing to pass the same bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization that passed the House months ago” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers isn’t a controversial step — it’s common sense that will save lives. The House-passed bill that Senator Feinstein introduced should be passed immediately.”

“Thirty-eight years ago, my ex-husband shot me with a gun he bought in a bar for $25,” said Laura Morris, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network from Washington, D.C. “I was fortunate to survive, but we know that in an average month in the United States at least 52 women are not so fortunate and they are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Quite simply: Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act with strong gun violence prevention provisions, as Sen. Feinstein proposes, will save lives.” 
Thirty-three Republicans voted for the House-passed version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, H.R. 1585, despite the NRA scoring against it and urging lawmakers to vote ‘NO.’ H.R. 1585 included life-saving gun safety provisions to disarm domestic abusers, including:

  • 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 investigate the potential crime and intervene before the abuser can obtain a firearm elsewhere or do further harm.