One gun law that everyone in America should support without question is the one that does not allow people convicted of domestic violence to own guns. It’s common sense: violent people should not be allowed weapons that will make it easier to carry out violence. And although the federal law is not perfect as the only people who can be denied gun permits for domestic violence are spouses of the victims, not boyfriends, girlfriends or stalkers, it is something. The federal government is not alone though, because of what is known as the “boyfriend loophole” many states have made an effort and passed laws to basically close that loophole–this is especially important given that over half of women killed with guns are shot by intimate partners or family members. Basically, both federal and many state governments have worked hard to prevent at least this type of gun violence. Unfortunately, all of the work to protect abuse victims will be for naught if a new Republican-sponsored bill passes.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) recently introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which will allow anyone with a gun permit in one state to carry them in all of the other 49 states. Think of it as a universal concealed carry permit. That means that if someone is denied a permit in their state because of their domestic violence history, they could go to another state, get a permit and then carry the gun back into the state where they were originally denied. According to the Huffington Post:
Some states offer significantly more protections to victims of domestic abuse, dating violence and stalking than others. In 28 states, for example, individuals convicted of stalking are not allowed to carry in public. But, as Everytown for Gun Safety counsel Courtney Zale explained to HuffPost, under concealed carry reciprocity, a stalker in one of those states could obtain a permit from Florida, which does not prohibit stalkers and issues permits to nonresidents through the mail. He could then use that permit to carry throughout the country.
In 25 states and Washington, D.C., law enforcement can deny individuals a concealed carry permit if they have a history of red flags, such as repeated domestic disturbances. Under concealed carry reciprocity, a person could bypass state rules by applying for a permit from a state with less stringent standards.
Executive director for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ruth Glenn, told the HuffPo that the Republican law would erase all of the progress made to protect victims of abuse from gun violence:
The efforts that some states have made will be for naught. Domestic abusers are very crafty. If we think they don’t know about these laws and ways around them, we are sadly mistaken.
The National Rifle Association isn’t worried about any of this unsurprisingly, they consider the bill a win for gun rights. In a notice on their website, they implored members to contact their representatives because:
Concealed carry reciprocity is the NRA’s highest legislative priority in Congress. It would ensure that states recognize the concealed carry credentials of other states. This would end abuses in anti-gun states like New York and New Jersey and allow law-abiding concealed carriers to exercise their rights nationwide with peace of mind.
It is unfathomable why the GOP would try to pass a bill like this knowing that it could put millions of domestic violence victims in grave danger, but really not shocking. The Republican Party’s gun stance is basically: We want whatever the NRA wants because they give us millions of dollars and that’s far more important than saving lives. That’s what it has always been about for the GOP, they put money over everything. Twenty first graders were violently slaughtered in their classrooms and the Republican Party didn’t even blink, so why would they care about victims of abuse?