Survivors call out Joni Ernst for sticking with the NRA to block the Violence Against Women Act

Sen. Joni Ernst is facing a re-election battle in her home state
of Iowa, and now she’s facing a series of domestic abuse
survivors and family members asking her, publicly and powerfully,
why she’s trying to help abusers and stalkers keep their
guns
. Ernst blocked the reauthorization of the Violence
Against Women Act and then turned around and tried to take credit
as a sponsor of VAWA by introducing a new version of the bill that
stripped out a provision banning convicted domestic abusers from
having guns.

Ernst showed her allegiance to the NRA over women whose lives
are in danger, and did so despite her own history as a survivor of
domestic abuse and rape. In fact, she’s tried to use her status
to strengthen her push to leave guns in the hands of abusers,
saying, “I do not need to be mansplained to by Chuck Schumer. I
am a survivor,” after the Senate minority leader called her out
over the “boyfriend loophole.” The survivors in a new campaign
called Why Joni? are not having it.

“I’m angry and disappointed in Joni Ernst,” says Lilly
Steil in one video. “She’s not looking out for the best
interests of women especially.” Steil’s sister was murdered by
an abusive ex in 2019, and, says Steil, “I think she really
could have been protected by a law like this, where, you know, he
wouldn’t have been able to have a gun.”

“Joni Ernst is weak,” Steil says in the video. “Honestly,
if you can’t stand up for the victims, and if you’re going to
put politics in front of people, that’s a shame.”

Another woman, Amanda Johnson, says in a video that after she
got a no-contact order against her partner, she asked how the guns
that he was no longer supposed to possess would be taken away, and
learned that it was up to him—up to her abusive ex—to turn in
his own guns. “I am actually lucky because he’s currently in
prison,” she says. “I don’t even know if he turned in his
guns, to be honest. He might still have them at home and he’s
just in prison without them. But what happens when he gets out?
That really scares me. That really scares me.”

Sen. John Cornyn went to bat for Ernst on Friday, but, as it turned out, too many people know what Ernst really did: You don’t get to take credit
as a sponsor of VAWA when you’ve blocked a bipartisan bill and
introduced a watered-down substitute with a key provision stripped
out. Seriously, she’s making a point of allowing people convicted
of violent crimes to keep their guns. And there are plenty of
survivors and family members out there willing to tell it like it
is as Ernst seeks re-election.


The Violence Against Women Act is one more reason we need Democrats to retake the Senate! Can you give $1 to help Democrats win these competitive Senate races in November?

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