NRA Rallies To Preserve The Gun Rights Of Convicted Stalkers, Abusive Boyfriends

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is … an abusive ex-boyfriend with a gun? Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesIn the United States today, a man convicted of physically abusing his spouse, ex-spouse, live-in lover, or co-parent does not have the right to own a firearm. A man convicted of assaulting his casual dating partner — or stalking him or her, after they break up — however, can carry on owning as many AR-15s as his heart desires. (The same, of course, holds for abusers of all genders).Congressional Democrats want to change that. And not without reason. Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be murdered by their partner if he (or, in rare cases, she) owns a firearm. About half of all female homicide victims are killed by intimate partners — and about half of intimate partner homicides are committed by casual dating partners. The fact that federal law bars abusive husbands — but not abusive boyfriends — from owning guns has no criminological justification. Thus, Nancy Pelosi’s caucus wants to use Congress’s pending reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act as an opportunity to close “the boyfriend loophole,” by adding language that would bar abusive dating partners and stalkers from purchasing firearms.But the National Rifle Association is rallying to the defense of the little guy (who stalks his ex-girlfriends and stockpiles deadly weapons). As the New York Times reports:> Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the N.R.A., said that for “many of those ‘offenses’ — and I’m using air quotes here — the behavior that would qualify as a stalking offense is often not violent or threatening; it involves no personal contact whatsoever.” She argues that the new provision is “too broad and ripe for abuse.”> >  > > “Like if you were sending harassing messages to somebody on Facebook, to somebody you never met or somebody you dated five years ago,” she said, adding, “How it’s written right now, you could be convicted for a misdemeanor stalking offense for a tweet that causes someone emotional distress and then you would be prohibited from owning a firearm.”This is an improbable claim. According to the Justice Department, stalking is defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or ...Read more

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