In 1994 then-Senator Joe Biden, under Bill Clinton’s presidency, passed the Violence Against Women Act. Every five years since then, Congress reauthorizes the act. The bill allowed for the creation of the Office of Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. It also allocates funding for such. Rep Karen Bass (D-CA) bought the 2019 reauthorization to the floor of the House of Representatives, labeled HR 1585 of the 116th Congress. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi managed to sneak some red-flag type gun control provisions onto the bill.
According to the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) the provisions of the bill:
- Allows for ex parte orders (no due process) from an intimate partner, much like the red flag bills we’ve seen
- Redefines the term “intimate partner” to include someone a person may have dated, as well as spouses and family.
- It would become the second misdemeanor level offense for which the federal government will bar someone from owning a firearm. In many cases, this will disarm women who seek to own a firearm for their own defense.
- Requires the federal government to notify local law enforcement when someone tries to purchase a firearm who’s allegedly prohibited under the NICS-Brady Registration scheme. This could include veterans or other law-abiding Americans who may have been wrongly added to the “prohibited” list without due process.
The Bill’s Status
HR 1585 is currently awaiting the review of the Senate Judiciary committee. The bill may even hit the Senate floor within the month. However, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is currently drafting a Senate version of HR 1585. This version would not include the red flag type gun control provisions.
Ernst will be up for re-election in 2020. According to Gun Owners of America, “[Senator] Feinstein is holding out the threat that Ernst will be portrayed as “anti-woman”, unless she destroys the Second Amendment”.
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