On Thursday, Montana’s Congressman Greg Gianforte voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, most likely because he was concerned that a vote for the measure would jeopardize the NRA rating that he values more than the lives and safety of women across the country. And the Montana media didn’t bother to either write a story about his vote or ask the Congressman to explain why.
NPR, in its reporting on the issue, explains that Republican members of Congress were told the organization would “score the vote,” meaning that voting for the bill could threaten a lower rating from the NRA in elections:
The NRA called for a “no” vote and notified Capitol Hill offices this week that the organization was “scoring” how lawmakers vote on the bill to measure future ratings and endorsements in elections. Congressional Republicans rarely run afoul of NRA positions on legislation.
And what did the NRA find so objectionable? That the reauthorized VAWA would close the “boyfriend loophole,” which allowed those who had stalked or abused someone they weren’t married to the right to continue purchasing firearms. Fortune reports:
Under the current law, only those convicted of domestic abuse who are or were married to, lived with, or have a child with the victim can have their guns taken from them. The proposed provision would expand this to include stalkers, current or former boyfriends, and dating partners.
In the U.S., as many as 52 women a month are shot to death by an intimate partner, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. About 76% of intimate partner murder victims had also been stalked by their partner and 67% had been physically abused, the National Center for Victims of Crime found.
Congressman Gianforte was forced to make a choice. Either he could vote to protect Montana women, who face a grave and growing threat from intimate partner violence, or he could vote to protect the interests of the NRA, which opposes every sensible gun regulation to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of people who have demonstrated a willingness to do harm.
In the end, even though almost everyone in Montana has been touched by the scourge of intimate partner violence and that Montana women are in danger of being killed by their partners, Greg Gianforte is more interested in protecting the rights of people to stalk, harass, and abuse women than he is in protecting their safety, all because his NRA rating matters more than human life.
33 Republicans had the courage to vote for the measure and rebuke the extremism of the NRA, but not Congressman Gianforte. And Montanans deserve to know that. Instead, the Montana Standard opted to run this hard-hitting piece of journalism instead.
We deserve better, in our Congress and from our press.