When 50 pro-gun women meet on Capitol Hill and set out to speak to their legislators about the Second Amendment, you get success. The DC Project just wrapped up it’s 4th year educating legislators and sharing their stories about why the Second Amendment is so important to them. As the New York City delegate, I can truthfully say I had a much different experience than last year. Armed with the information needed to speak against legislation like the Violence Against Women Act, red flag laws, and universal background checks, I had much more positive interaction with lawmakers who are on the other side of the aisle when it comes to the gun debate.
What I learned was this is simply not “don’t vote this way because we don’t like it”. This was a complete eye opener to many of our reps and Senators who may not have thought about these bills and the negative affect they could have. For example, The Violence Against Women Act. I think all women would love to stand behind this bill. Providing more funding to domestic violence shelters and overall providing more protection to women who are victims of domestic violence is a critical and important need. However, there is one part of this bill that I and most other women I know cannot stand behind. Funding for red flag laws to be passed on the state level. And here’s why.
Red flag laws in theory are meant to protect women. But what happens when that very law can make you even more of a victim? What happens when a woman has a firearm to protect herself and her abuser now has the right to go to authorities and have it taken away without so much as an inquiry or investigation? That’s the danger of the red flag laws. It removes due process and can make women even more vulnerable who have already taken steps to make reduce the chance of becoming a victim. All it takes is one person to say “I’m worried about my ex-girlfriend because we broke up and she’s not handling it well” for her guns to be taken from her home. Now making her a victim. What if her ex-boyfriend has been beating her for the last year? He has now gained even more power over her. Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?
Some of our state leaders met with Senator Graham who sponsored the Violence Against Women Act and expressed their concerns. By the time they had walked out of the office, talks and thoughts of how it can be improved we’re the outcome.
Which is the goal of the DCP. Giving a different perspective of the gun owner in America. How can we make the laws we currently have on the books about gun ownership (20,000 by the way) more effective and better for EVERYONE? Universal background checks were also a hot topic of conversation this week on the Hill. Did you know that if your name sounds like someone else’s, and that person has committed a felony, chances are you will be denied the right to purchase a firearm? You would have to file and appeal with currently is an extremely lengthy process and expensive to prove your innocence. Last I checked, in America you had to be proven guilty, not prove your innocence. But not in the case of NICS.
Several states have increased the amount of data and records into the NICS system over the years and it has greatly decreased those chances of a false negative. However, many states have not. Until all states are required to enter the information into the FBI, we will continue to have people getting denied. We will also have people being able to purchase firearms that should not be. We should not be looking at making the process of purchasing a firearm more difficult to the law-abiding citizen. Fix the systems currently in place before talks of banning guns and accessories even come to the table.
The women of the DC Project will continue to fight for their rights and their ability to protect themselves. We will continue to educate those who may not understand the difference between a “clip” and a “magazine” (I’m looking at you Joe Biden). And continue to share our stories. If you would like to learn more about the DC Project, it’s women and what we do please check out http://www.dcproject.info and on Facebook: @The DCProject.