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Violence Against Women Act renewal bogs down in D.C.

Act has no Louisiana support

April 13, 2019 - 1:40 pm

(WWL.com) - D.C. lawmakers are tangling over the Violence Against Women Act renewal as it heads to the Senate after clearing the House 263 to 158, on a mostly party line vote.

Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves says he voted against the legislation because it included over 200 pages of proposals that were not vetted before the bill was voted on…

“This bill has crazy things like giving rights to people that are transgender, or men dressing as women and putting them in the same shelter. Things that I think need additional scrutiny, and need input from experts that deal with these types of victims to better understand the best path forward here.”

Republicans have presented an unaltered version of the bill for short-term renewal.

The NRA called for “No” votes on the bill, one of the reasons being because it would lower the threshold for banning gun ownership to those with misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking. Current law only applies to felonies. Graves says he’s concerned that provision may have infringed on due process.

“If it appears that there is some type of imminent threat then absolutely I would support preventing access to those weapons, but you have to have just cause, you can’t just come out and say well I don’t think this person should have a weapon. That’s an infringement on second amendment rights.”

He added that it’s a proposal worth considering, given research that indicates a link between domestic abuse and gun violence.

But Sexual Trauma Awareness Response President Rachael Herbert says the lower legal requirements to ban gun ownership are vital, because it’s tough enough already to get any penalties for abusers.

“It’s very difficult to get a domestic violence conviction because victims either fear retaliation, or don’t want to get their abuser in trouble, and so the vast majority of people committing domestic violence are not actually charged.”

The new, House passed version also allocates about a billion dollars in funding to a range of programs.

Louisiana’s five Republican Congressmen all voted against the re-authorization, and Herbert says it was a partisan decision that will endanger women, and neglects the fact that similar legislation has found success in the Louisiana Legislature.

“Louisianians have supported these measures but in Congress they are actually more concerned about what the NRA thinks than what the citizens of Louisiana think.”

33 House Republicans voted for the re-authorization’s passage.

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