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Congressman Brown Introduces Bill To Protect Victims Of Domestic Violence And Stalking

Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) released the following statement after reintroducing H.R. 511, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, with 50 original cosponsors. Provisions of the bill were included in Democrats’ Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization during the 115th Congress.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) released the following statement after reintroducing H.R. 511, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, with 50 original cosponsors. Provisions of the bill were included in Democrats’ Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization during the 115th Congress.

“20 people every minute experience intimate partner violence in the United States. This stark reality is unacceptable, and is a clear indicator that Congress can and must do more to help those who need protection under the law,” said Congressman Brown. “When the system fails, and perpetrators of abuse are allowed to slip through the cracks and escalate their violence, it is our moral responsibility as Members of Congress to close these gaps and save the lives of potential victims. It is up to us to ensure that no domestic abuser and no person who exhibits violent, irrational, or obsessive behavior is able to purchase a weapon -- especially given the empirical evidence that gun-ownership often makes homicide much more likely in an abusive relationship.”

“While federal law provides vital protections from armed abusers for some victims and survivors of domestic violence, there are very concerning loopholes that leave victims vulnerable to gun violence,” says Ruth Glenn, President/CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “This important bill will keep guns out of the hands of dating abusers and intervene at the most dangerous time for victims – when they first reach out to the court system for help.”

The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act is intended to help prevent “intimate partner” homicides by expanding firearms laws to prohibit persons convicted of dating violence from possessing firearms. The provisions also prohibit persons convicted of misdemeanor stalking and individuals subject to ex parte protective orders from possessing firearms.

“In 2017 The Hotline saw a 74% increase in the number of contacts indicating that guns played a role in their abuse – whether as a direct threat to her life or as a form of control to keep her from leaving,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of fatality by 500%, and more than half of women killed with a gun in the US are killed by a current or former partner. The Hotline strongly supports the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act introduced by Representative Brown, which would address key loopholes that keep survivors from seeking safety.”

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