WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — October is National Domestic Violence Month and Democrats on Capitol Hill on Tuesday renewed their push to renew and extend the Violence Against Women Act.
The nation’s domestic violence law expired over a disagreement about whether the law should also apply to abusive boyfriends.
Women in wedding gowns flanked Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill to honor Gladys Ricart — a woman who in 1999 was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend as she prepared to walk down the aisle to marry another man.
The group is pushing for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
Democrats want to expand the law, which expired earlier this year, by closing what they call the “boyfriend loophole.”
VAWA allowed law enforcement to remove guns from abusive husbands and domestic partners but not boyfriends. Democrats say abusive boyfriends are just as dangerous.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell warned anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. She has become a vocal advocate due to her personal experience.
“I thought it was normal for parents to scream, I thought it was normal for people to point guns at each other and I remember the night — there was more than one night — but the night I kept my parents from killing each other,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI).
Dingell said domestic violence creates a dangerous cycle. Her sister also became a victim.
“She was married to a very bad man,” Dingell said. “He broke every bone in her face.”
Republican lawmakers blocked the expansion of the law and groups like the NRA oppose expanding the law to include dating partners, saying the move is a thinly-veiled gun control attempt.