The National Rifle Association (NRA) has urged Republican Representatives to oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) due to a provision based on Klobuchar and Dingell’s legislation that seeks to prevent people who have been convicted of stalking misdemeanors from obtaining firearms and protects victims of domestic abuse

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) spoke at a press conference to highlight the need to protect victims of stalking and domestic abuse and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act over the opposition of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA urged Republican representatives to oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) due to a provision based on Klobuchar’s legislation that would prohibit individuals convicted of a stalking misdemeanor from possessing or purchasing a gun and would close the loophole that allows perpetrators of dating violence access to firearms.

In January, Klobuchar reintroduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act to close what is commonly referred to as the ‘boyfriend loophole’ by preventing people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms. The bill would also prevent convicted stalkers from possessing a gun—common sense updates to federal law which many states have already adopted. The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act has 31 Senate cosponsors. The bipartisan companion bill in the House of Representatives is led by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). 

“This is an opportunity to greatly improve the Violence Against Women Act. One of the things we’ve learned over time is that there is a high rate of domestic homicide with guns, and for too long, the ban on getting a gun if you have been convicted of the serious crime of domestic abuse has only applied to married partners, former married partners, or people who live together.

“According to the Department of Justice, nearly half of women killed by romantic partners are killed by dating partners, that’s why this is so important, and why it was included in the House bill.

“VAWA isn’t just about the dating partner or even the married partner—it’s about our whole community, it’s about the kids in the family, it’s about the neighbors, and it’s about everyone that lives in the community when domestic violence hits.”

On April 4, the House of Representatives passed the reauthorization of VAWA with a vote of 263 to 158. It included provisions based on Klobuchar’s Abby Honold Act, bipartisan legislation with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would promote the use of trauma-informed techniques in responding to sexual assault crimes.

Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to prevent domestic violence. She is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and prior to her time in the Senate, Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney. In 2018, Klobuchar and Cornyn’s SAFER Act—legislation that would reauthorize, strengthen, and extend the Sexual Assault Forensic Registry program in an effort to help reduce the national rape kit backlog—was signed into law. In 2016, the Klobuchar-backed bipartisan Justice for All Reauthorization Act was signed into law. The law strengthens the rights of crime victims by providing the protection they need to restore their lives and enhances law enforcement’s ability to proactively stop violent criminals. The Justice for All Reauthorization Act also aims to reduce the rape kit backlog by supporting grant programs that fund forensic testing.

Broadcast quality footage of Klobuchar’s remarks at the press conference can be found HERE.