Think Progress is celebrating the end of the “boyfriend loophole” in the Violence Against Women Act but this is not something to celebrate. It is something to oppose.
First, the fact that someone could lose their Second Amendment rights over a misdemeanor conviction is disturbing. Violent felons should not have guns, and provided they are given due process, it is reasonable to restrict their liberties. They are the ones who freely made those choices, after all. (Of course, we need to fairly and logically define what a “violent felon” is, because even that definition can be greatly expanded.) But misdemeanors is a bridge too far and will be abused.
The definition of “stalking” is overbroad and is clearly a way to get a backdoor gun confiscation scheme into federal law. TP reports that the bill defined stalking as:
a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear.
So if I am following someone on Twitter (or if a retweet appears on my timeline) would replying to a Tweet I disagree with constitute “nonconsensual communication” under federal law? TP dismisses this idea, but we live in a time where people are consistently worried about “violent” social media posts and more governments are criminalizing posting certain things on social media. Michelle Malkin has been warned by Twitter that some of her tweets are illegal in Pakistan. The proper response from an American company ought to be to tell the Pakistani government to go jump off a cliff, but Twitter is run by cowards.
Finally, the federal government has no constitutional authority to legislate against violent crime, which is inherently a state issue. Both Republicans and Democrats are failures here, with the “tough on crime” mentality giving ever more power to the leviathan federal government. But while Democrats are bad on this issue, that is to be expected. I am more unhappy with Republicans, who discovered constitutional limits on federal power during the Clinton and Obama years only to forget about this principle under George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Outside of a few people like Rand Paul, are there any constitutional conservatives left in the Republican Party?