The Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994, a quainter time when the idea that we should try not to get women killed held bipartisan support.
It was a pretty straightforward law, providing money for victim aid, legal help, etc. In a rare moment of putting the lives of women ahead of the wishes of men, it also barred ex-husbands, family members, and live-in boyfriends from owning guns should they be convicted of felony stalking or domestic violence.
Congress' reasoning was statistically sound. When guns are added to the recipe of abusing women, the risk of homicide leaps by 500 percent.
But the law expired, meaning it would have to be passed anew. Unfortunately, this would come in a new era, where the safety of women isn't much of a concern in certain circles. Especially if it causes the slightest inconvenience to men.
A revised bill was launched in the U.S. House, with minor changes to close some loopholes. It addressed the most glaring omission, adding non-live-in boyfriends. It would also bar those convicted of misdemeanor stalking and domestic violence from possessing guns as well.
Again, there was good reason. Violence isn't restricted to immediate family and cohabitating boyfriends. And any stalking victim can speak to how hard it is to get basic protection, much less a conviction for anything. Law enforcement's indifference to crimes against women needs no introduction. Even in cases as severe as rape, only 6 percent of Minnesota's perpetrators will spend a day in jail.
Yet this is no longer 1994, when stalkers and wife-beaters were rightfully detested as the lowest of the male species. The kind of men who can't handle rejection. The kind who moronically believe obsessive smothering can win that affection back. The kind who resort to revenge when it inevitably doesn't work.
But in 2019, they're now tragic victims. At least in some corners.
The NRA thundered against the bill. While its fading powers weren't enough to block passage in the House, 158 members still voted to place the toy ownership rights of the weak and the stupid above the lives of women.
Included among them were Minnesota Republicans Jim Hagedorn and Tom Emmer, and Democrat Collin Peterson.
The three congressmen may still get their wish, since the bill needs approval of the Republican-controlled Senate, where interest in women tends to begin and end in governance over their vaginal region.
It must then get the signature of one Donald Trump, the subject of no less than 23 sexual harassment and assault allegations.
No, it is not 1994 anymore.