Over the past few years, mass shootings and gun violence in general across the country intensified the debate around gun laws. For the most part, Alaskans use guns for hunting, but lawmakers in the state now worry about gun violence spreading to the Last Frontier.
Alaska is also affected by laws passed at the federal level related to gun ownership. Among them is the Supreme Court’s ruling that people convicted of domestic violence may lose their gun rights. According to NPR, this extends even to misdemeanor domestic violence cases. One reason Congress cracked down on these cases is that the presence of a gun in a violent situation increases the likelihood of a woman dying by as much as five times.
Over the years, the federal government made several attempts to protect women in violent relationships through the Violence Against Women Act. This needs to be reauthorized every five or so years. Almost every time the bill gets renewed, lawmakers add something else to the law.
MarketWatch reports that this year, the boyfriend loophole was closed. In the past, it was a domestic partner, co-partner or spouse who faced a gun ownership ban after domestic violence charges. Now, any romantic relationship might invoke the ban, including just dating. Convictions that might bring it into effect including stalking, assault or abuse. The new bill received an approval rate of 263 to 158.
Some people believe the new law is a political weapon wielded by the left. Others believe that given the current social climate regarding gun violence, it should receive bipartisan support. Whatever a person believes, one thing is certain: a domestic violence conviction might end their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.