The National Rifle Association (NRA) is challenging a proposed law that would prevent individuals convicted of stalking from purchasing firearms and expand the definition of “intimate partner.”
The NRA sent letters imploring senators to oppose the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013, which Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote to expand the definition of “intimate partner” to include “dating partners” and prohibit firearm sales to individuals who have been convicted of stalking.
“As a former prosecutor, I know how domestic violence and stalking can take lives and tear apart families,” Sen. Klobuchar told the Huffington Post. “This is a commonsense bill that would protect victims and keep our families safe, and I will continue to work to move this legislation forward.”
In the letter, the NRA argued that the legislation “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for firearm prohibitions.”
Klobuchar’s bill attempts “to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearms prohibitions,” the letter claimed, before proposing a hypothetical situation in which two gay men get in “a shoving match.”
If the bill passes, “two men of equal size, strength, and economic status joined by a civil union or merely engaged (or formerly engaged) in an intimate ‘social relationship,’ could be subject to this prohibition for conviction of simple ‘assault’ arising from a single shoving match.”
The NRA is also concerned that the definition of “stalking” is too broad to warrant any abridging of the Second Amendment. “‘Stalking’ offenses do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior,” the letter read.
“Under federal law, for example, stalking includes ‘a course of conduct’ that never involves any personal contact whatsoever, occurs wholly through the mail, online media, or telephone service, is undertaken with the intent to ‘harass’ and would be reasonably expected to cause (even if it doesn’t succeed in causing) ‘substantial emotional distress’ to another person.”
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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