Letters to the Editor

Ernst's hypocrisy on the VAWA

It is commendable that Senator Ernst is supporting the Violence Against Women Act (VACA) Senate proposal, which includes proposed increases in program funding, rape prevention and education, and improved housing opportunities for victims of domestic violence and their children.

The Senate’s VACA bill version does not include retroactively classifying assault convictions as felonies. The argument against this is it would bar those convicted from buying and owning firearms. This argument conveniently ignores the fact that the presence of a firearm in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%, according to the Violence Policy Center. The Senate version allows dating partners to buy and own firearms after a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence. The House version of the VACA legislation proposes closing this “boyfriend loophole”. Does Senator Ernst think the recidivism rate of domestic violence is so low that past convicted perpetrators won’t reoffend? Or that only married spouses kill their partners?

In 2014, 13 Iowans were killed in domestic violence homicides, 7 murdered with guns. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%.

Senator Ernst’s undiscriminating support of firearm ownership has earned her an NRA rating of 93% in 2014, indicating that she consistently supports gun rights and opposes restrictions. Her dedication to the NRA and its money is apparently more important to her than the facts of domestic violence, even considering her own experience.

Carolyn Stephenson

Cedar Rapids

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