WASHINGTON ― The House passed legislation Thursday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, despite the vast majority of Republicans opposing it amid pressure from the National Rifle Association.
The bill, which reauthorizes the landmark 1994 domestic violence law for another five years, easily passed. (The vote tally is here). But 157 Republicans voted against it, along with one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.). For many of them, it was because the NRA was pushing them to oppose it over its gun safety provisions and warning that a vote in favor of the bill would be reflected in their NRA rating.
Under current federal law, only people convicted of domestic violence offenses against spouses or family members can lose their gun rights. The VAWA would add people convicted of abusing their dating partners, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” It would also prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses from owning or buying firearms, as well as abusers subject to temporary protective orders.
Most of the GOP caucus opposed the bill because of the gun measures, said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), one of 33 Republicans who voted for it.
“That seems to be the main issue,” said King, who has an F rating with the NRA. “I mean, there’s others as far as transgender [protections in the bill], but the main issue is the guns.”
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