JWI's statement on the gun lobby's opposition to VAWA Reauthorization

Contact: Meredith Jacobs, (d) 202-464-4803//(c) 301-529-8591, [email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Jewish Women International (JWI), the leading Jewish organization working to empower women and girls and end gender-based violence, is outraged by the gun lobby’s opposition to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585). There is no doubt that we must update language to protect all victims, including victims of dating violence and stalking. This small change to the bill, which corrects a previous oversight, will ensure that all victims are protected equally.  It should NOT be controversial to stop individuals convicted of all four crimes (domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking) from purchasing or possessing firearms.

Over 20 years ago Congress passed a VAWA that included a provision banning individuals convicted of domestic violence from purchasing or possessing firearms. Members across the political spectrum understood the unique dynamics inherent in abusive relationships and took action to protect victims. But now this provision needs to be updated to include dating violence perpetrators from having guns. A victim who doesn’t live with her abuser, isn’t married to her abuser, or doesn’t have child with her abuser deserves the same protections as the victim who lives with, is married to, or has a child with her abuser.

It is time to close this glaring loophole in federal law. The gun lobby should be ashamed that they are advocating to prioritize the rights of violent offenders over the lives of victims. Call your Representative today and tell them to support H.R. 1585, as it is written, and to vote YES when it comes to the floor next week!

Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI's advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.