The NRA Is Now Helping Advance Anti-Domestic Violence Laws

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Thanks to clandestine support from the National Rifle Association (NRA), domestic violence victims in several states have been granted a major protection from their abusers. Lawmakers are taking guns away from offenders who are issued protective orders — with the backing of the country’s most prominent gun rights organization.

As the Huffington Post reports, the NRA consented to HB 1840, a Washington state bill making it legal to strip abusers of their guns if they are served with “no-contact orders, protection orders, [or] restraining orders.” And while the bill was signed into law last month, the NRA also approved similar measures elsewhere, within the last year. Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Minnesota have signed or advanced legislation banning abusers from keeping guns if they’ve been issued an order or charged with misdemeanors, all with NRA support.

The NRA’s latest stance contrasts its previous attitude toward campaigns against domestic violence. Previously, if legislation was on the table to take guns away from offenders, the NRA adamantly opposed it. Specifically, the lobby consistently argued that guns should only be stripped from abusers convicted of a felony, and lawmakers under its influence refused to advance new gun laws. But the NRA’s new position is clearing the path for lawmakers to target perpetrators in a substantial way.

The shift can be attributed, in part, to ongoing efforts aimed at boosting gun rights support among women. For instance, the NRA sold bras with holsters and pink guns at a convention last year, in an attempt to make the weapons more appealing to women. And a campaign by NRA Women encourages women to embrace guns and “Refuse To Be A Victim.’ In reality, arming women doesn’t actually protect them from their abusers.

The NRA’s approval of slightly stricter gun laws is part of a larger trend: Strategies to address domestic violence are advancing at local, state, and national levels. Activists are developing creative ways to assist victims, such as teaching beauticians how to identify signs of abuse. Police departments are also implementing policies to identify perpetrators. The Supreme Court recently took a step toward ensuring that domestic abusers can’t get their hands on guns, and survivors of domestic violence have new medical benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

Today, roughly one-third of all women living in the U.S. have experienced domestic violence.