The Violence Against Women Act of 2021 (VAWA), which passed the House in the Spring and could now be taken up by the Senate, contains a red flag provision applying even to those involved in non-romantic relationships.
The Los Angeles Times reported the VAWA, which passed the House in March, contained language to expand federal domestic partner laws to include boyfriends and dating partners. The expansion allows the inclusion of gun bans for boyfriends with a domestic violence conviction and also “expands the prohibition to current and former dating partners, as well as those convicted of misdemeanor stalking.”
The prohibitive language was part of a provision drafted by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), who told the Times, “I’m not trying to take guns away from most people, but if someone’s demonstrated that they could abuse somebody, then we need to do something to prevent violence.”
Dingle pointed to Gabby Giffords’ gun control group as informing her decision to seek to broaden the prohibition. (David Chipman, once nominated by President Joe Biden to head the ATF, is a senior policy adviser at Giffords.)
In addition to expanding federal law to apply domestic partner rules to non-domestic partner relationships, the text of the VAWA makes clear that the prohibitions contained within the Act apply to relationships that are not even romantic in nature.
For example, under the heading “Prohibiting Persons Convicted of Misdemeanor Crimes Against Dating Partners and Subject to Protection Orders,” the Act states:
Nothing in this paragraph may be construed to require that sexual contact between two persons have occurred to establish the existence of any relationship for purposes of this paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘dating partner’ means, with respect to person, a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person.
It appears that a “social relationship” that may be “intimate” but not “romantic” falls under the purview of the VAWA as well.
On October 5, 2021, Radio Iowa published an interview with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in which he made clear he would support a VAWA that did not contain