WASHINGTON | The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favor of an anti-violence against women law that extends the ban on buying a firearm to any former partner, or stalker, convicted, a point that could complicate its passage. in the Senate.
“This should not be a Democratic or Republican question, it is a question of fighting against the abuse of power and preventing violence,” reacted, welcoming this vote, US President Joe Biden.
A longtime senator, he was the author of the first version of this law, adopted in 1994. One of his greatest pride, he likes to recall.
“I now urge the Senate” to adopt the text “so that I can promulgate it as quickly as possible,” he added in a statement.
The vote in the Democrat-controlled House came the day after shootings in Atlanta, where a gunman shot and killed eight people, including seven women. Six of his victims were of Asian origin.
“Yesterday’s terrible shooting in Atlanta, Georgia is yet another example of gun violence against women,” said the organization fighting for stricter gun control, “Everytown for Gun Safety,” also welcoming the vote.
The bill was adopted by 244 votes to 172 in the lower house. Rarely in a very divided Congress, 29 Republicans voted in favor of the text.
But its adoption in the Senate, where ten Republicans would have to rally to the 50 Democrats, appears difficult.
Since 1994, new amended versions of this law against violence against women (“Violence Against Women Act”) had been approved thanks to the support of both parties.
But a version adopted in the House in 2019 had been blocked in the Senate, where the Republicans, in the majority at the time, had prevented it from being put to a vote.
At the heart of their criticism: a new provision that extends the ban on buying or owning a weapon to all partners convicted of domestic violence, as well as to a person convicted of harassment.
Previously, this prohibition only applied if the victim had been married, had lived with or had a child with the convicted person.
The new text also strengthens the protection of LGBTQ, Amerindian and illegal immigrants.
This project serves “the identity policies of the radical left”, estimated a Republican elected member of the House, Debbie Lesko.