NRA Opposing 'Violence Against Women Act,' Because Stalkers Need Guns, Too
It's getting more and more difficult these days, what with the never-ending stream of mass murders, to adamantly oppose common sense gun control laws. Even the NRA is taking a step back and keeping its dumb mouth shut when it comes to Democrat-led votes on background checks and other gun control measures.
And Republicans are not very happy about it.
Why? Because they've got a bit of a symbiotic relationship with the NRA, whom they count on to rally public opinion against gun control laws and also give them a bit of cover for voting against them. Democrats propose gun control laws, the NRA asks its members to call up their representatives to say they're against it, and then those representatives get to say, "It's just what the public wants." That's how things are supposed to work.
One anonymous Republican lawmaker from a "solidly red district" complained to the National Journal that without the NRA pushing its members to call and complain, he now gets an equal amount of calls from those who are for and against these laws, and that's just not right! How is he supposed to pretend that the public is opposed to gun control laws if the NRA is not out there trying to make it look that way?
One House Republican from a solidly red district said he thinks the NRA has taken its foot off the gas in rebutting Democrats' gun legislation. As an example, the member noted that during the recent debate over a Democratic gun-background-check bill, the calls to his office were evenly split for and against the bill, something he thinks would have been different if the NRA had activated its membership.
"The NRA gets blamed for being the bogeyman anytime the Left doesn't like either a gun-control vote or a pro-Second Amendment vote, but if the NRA's not willing to flex their muscle in times when it's important, what's the point?" said the congressman, speaking anonymously to discuss behind-the-scenes lobbying. "It's important that the NRA is communicating with their members and their members are reaching out to us. That's the real power of the NRA."
But now things are getting real serious. At issue is the revised version of the Violence Against Women Act, which seeks to ban those with misdemeanor domestic violence and stalking charges from owning guns. And many Republicans really, really want to vote against it.
Of course, even in the age of Trump, coming right out and saying "Actually we are fine with violence against women" is considered somewhat declassé. Thus, they have asked the NRA to step in and come out against it so they can throw their hands up in the air and go, "I don't know, you guys, the NRA said we had to vote against it, so guess we're gonna have to do that in order to keep our ratings," and then vote against it. And the NRA has complied.
At the request of House Republicans, the group will issue a key vote against the politically dicey Violence Against Women Act over its so-called red-flag provisions, which seek to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said the group objects because it believes the legislation could lead to firearm confiscations over misdemeanor domestic violence or stalking convictions.
"The NRA opposes domestic violence and all violent crime, and spends millions of dollars teaching countless Americans how not to be a victim and how to safely use firearms for self-defense," Baker said. "It is a shame that some in the gun-control community treat the severity of domestic violence so trivially that they are willing to use it as a tool to advance a political agenda."
Why, it's almost exactly the same as THIS story that came out yesterday, of some drunk Aussie lunatics yammering with the NRA and asking for millions to sell Australian gun policy to the highest bidder (the NRA, duh):
The best method to handle media inquiries in the wake of a massacre was to "say nothing," according to Catherine Mortensen, an NRA media liaison officer, on the video. But if the media inquiries about gun control persist, another NRA comms official, Lars Dalseide, said to "shame them to the whole idea," adding: "If your policy, isn't good enough to stand on itself, how dare you use their deaths to push that forward? How dare you stand on the graves of those children to put forward your political agenda?"
And what exactly is our "political agenda" outside of "not wanting women to be murdered by their abusers or stalkers" and "not wanting 50 people praying to be murdered by a racist terrorist? Is it that we want to ruin their days for no reason whatsoever? I would like to know what it is they think our secret end game is here.
First of all -- if the NRA is doing such a bang-up job "teaching countless Americans how not to be a victim and how to safely use firearms for self-defense" then why, oh why, are women 500% more likely to be murdered by their partners if there is a gun in the house? Why are they 38% less likely to be shot and killed by their partners in states with comprehensive background checks? If we are totally wrong about gun control and the NRA is right, then shouldn't the opposite be true?
Second of all, a misdemeanor domestic violence charge requires "as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon." It is a big deal. Felony stalking charges are extremely rare (for real, it's hard enough to get a restraining order), and yet 31,000 stalking victims are attacked with a gun every year. A person who has a certain amount of sense might say, "Oh gee, it seems like we might want to do something about that! These seem like the kind of people who probably should not have guns."
Third -- it sure seems like a whole lot of these mass shooters have histories of domestic violence and stalking.
Still, the language in that statement is far from one of conviction. The NRA offers no explanation as to why domestic abusers are exactly the kind of people we want to have guns, they don't give us any heartfelt stories of crimes that could have been prevented if only a convicted stalker had a gun -- maybe because they don't even believe that themselves. Nothing says "I admit I have lost this argument" like vaguely referring to general "political agendas" one cannot even define.
After the Parkland shooting, the organization even released a video in which they announced that they would be willing to support certain red-flag laws and "extreme risk protection orders" that would temporarily restrict gun ownership. It's almost as if they are starting to realize this isn't a good look anymore. It would be nice if more Republicans in office could start to pick up on that as well.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse