U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik finally held open meetings with constituents recently. Unfortunately, many voters who would have attended were not able to because these meetings were held during the regular workday and with only 24 to 48 hours’ notice. I was able to attend the Gouverneur meeting along with about 25 other folks.
One question that came up during this event and at the other three events was the congresswoman’s “No” vote on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. This important piece of legislation had lapsed because it was due for a vote during the 2018 government shutdown. It is important to note that the Republicans had complete control of the Congress and White House during the period before the act expired. They could have done anything they wanted in 2018, but it seems it wasn’t on Ms. Stefanik’s “must do” agenda. Ms. Stefanik then blamed the current Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for that lapse even though it was clearly the Republicans who allowed the shutdown to occur and the law to lapse.
Despite stating many times about how bipartisan she was, Ms. Stefanik continued to assert that she supports the Violence Against Women Act but could not vote for this bill because the Democrats extended protections in the reauthorization to women endangered by those who had stalked and assaulted them but to whom they were not married. She believes that men convicted of abusing their partners must still be free to own and carry a gun — unless, of course, they marry their victim.
This “boyfriend loophole” keeps all women unsupported by our law, unless they marry their abuser! Our two adult daughters experienced significant abuse at the hands of their dating partners, and yet those abusers retained their right to carry a gun. I am thankful that neither of them married these “boyfriends” but even more grateful that they did not get assaulted by these men with their legally owned guns.
It appears that the NRA has bought Elise Stefanik. When commonsense legislation doesn’t get her support simply because it would prohibit those convicted of assault or stalking from possessing a gun and do real damage, I say it is time for us to change our congresswoman. Elise Stefanik simply cannot be counted on to support our rights to a safe and secure living environment.
Eileen B. Raymond