Lawmakers offer gun control bill to end ‘boyfriend loophole’

Congressional lawmakers are offering a gun control bill that would prevent convicted domestic abusers from buying or owning firearms.

Sen. (D-Minn.) and Rep. (D-Mich.) introduced the The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act on Tuesday morning, according to The Huffington Post.

According to a copy of the bill published by HuffPost, it aims to amend current law to explicitly prohibit a “dating partner or former dating partner” that was convicted of domestic violence from owning a firearm. 

It would also prevent those who were convicted of a misdemeanor crime of stalking from owning a gun.

“Stalking and domestic violence are two of the greatest predictors of future violence, and ignoring those warning signs will lead to preventable murders and deaths,” Dingell said in a statement shared with The Hill. “This legislation will end a dangerous loophole that has been exploited too often in our communities with tragic consequences.”

The legislation has 37 co-sponsors, in the Senate, according to the Huffington Post. A bipartisan companion bill in the House, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, is being led by Dingell and Rep. (R-Pa.).

In a statement shared with The Hill, Fitzpatrick said the bill “takes a commonsense, measured approach to prevent convicted abusers and stalkers from accessing weapons.”

“I am proud to work with Congresswoman Dingell and Senator Klobuchar to enact this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will save lives and ensure the safety of women and their families across our nation,” he said.

The Hill has reached out to Klobuchar’s office for comment.

The “boyfriend loophole” refers to a gap in federal law that prevents domestic abusers from owning guns.

Current law prohibits people that are convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from owning or buying a firearm. However, this only applies when the crime involved the use of or attempted use of physical force, and the perpetrator is a spouse, has a child with, or has lived with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian.

The bill comes as Democrats, who control the White House and Congress, seek to pass gun safety legislation.

Democrats also introduced the Background Check Expansion Act, which expands federal background checks on all gun sales.

Updated 1:32 p.m.

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