The March issue of the National Rifle Association’s monthly publication, The American Rifleman, features a photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic Congresswoman from Arizona, who was shot in the head in 2011, The New York Times reports on February 24.
The photo of Pelosi and Giffords, snapped last month as a slur against proposed legislation to expand background checks for firearms purchases, is headlined: “Target Practice”.
The NRA’s attack against the two women—one critically wounded by a mass shooter—coincides with the new Democratic House proposal drafted by Texas Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, to expand the 1994 domestic violence law—The Violence Against Women Act—to include stricter gun control laws against domestic abusers and stalkers.
The law authorizes funding for social service agencies that aid victims affected by sexual violence, including rape crisis centers, shelters and legal-assistance programs.
The legislation also prevents victims from eviction by their abusers.
The new, version of the law is backed by more than 160 Democrats and no Republicans, who categorically oppose the gun control measures in the bill
“For whatever misguided reason, Speaker Pelosi has decided to take a noncontroversial clean extension of the Violence Against Women Act as a bargaining chip,” said a spokeswoman for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California.
A Political Football
The Democratic proposal would ensure that abusers under protective orders or perpetrators convicted of dating violence or stalking are barred from owning a gun.
Some states already have “red flag” laws in place, preventing gun violence.
The trail-blazing legislation was first signed into law in 1994 and has been reauthorized ever since.
However, Republicans and Democrats have turned the legislation into a political football, clashing over which version to bring to the floor.
Joe Biden’s Apology to Anita Hill
The domestic abuse law was written by then-Delaware Senator, Joe Biden, perhaps as redemption for his merciless October, 1991, grilling of law professor, Anita Hill, who captured the attention of a generation of women when she accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, her supervisor at the United States Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of relentless sexual harassment.
Biden has apologized to Hill for grilling her on why Justice Thomas’ prurient behavior so troubled her.
Christine Blasey Ford’s all-too-credible testimony detailing Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged attempted rape against her in the early 1980’s, as an elite high school student at Georgetown Prep, also fell on the Senate Judiciary’s deaf ears 27 years later.
Bill Clinton’s Pro-Female Congress
The Violence against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted by Bill Clinton in 1994, after an unprecedented four women were elected to the Senate and 24 women were elected to the House in 1992, according to Roll Call.
VAWA was most recently reauthorized in 2013, after Conservatives in the House GOP caucus opposed the bill.
However, Congress enacted the law, while leaving out provisions to help Native Americans and transgender people, bills the new Democratic-led House is expected to champion.
Democrats say a full reauthorization of the VAWA is expected to be introduced in March.
The Violence Against Women Act is crucial for all Americans, as data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), show that one in three women and one in six men encounter sexual violence during their lifetimes, Roll Call concludes.