U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced updated bipartisan bicameral legislation to strengthen provisions closing the ‘boyfriend loophole.’
The ‘boyfriend loophole’ is a legal loophole that allows dating partners convicted of a domestic violence offense to purchase or own a firearm. The Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence and Stalking Survivors Act would address this very loophole by preventing stalkers and all forms of dating partners convicted of a domestic violence offense from buying or owning firearms, regardless of when the relationship occurred.
Klobuchar, Dingell and Fitzpatrick’s provisions to ensure recent dating partners convicted of domestic violence face the same gun ownership restrictions as similarly situated spouses were signed into law last year as part of the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act.
The Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence and Stalking Survivors Act would:
- Prevent those convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses from purchasing firearms;
- Clarify that abusive dating partners subject to certain court orders are treated the same as an abusive spouse;
- Update the definition of “dating relationship” for purposed of federal firearm prohibitions to include “individuals who have or have had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature,” regardless of when the relationship occurred. The law currently requires that the dating relationship is “recent,” which could exclude abusers convicted of domestic violence against partners from a prior relationship.
In addition to Klobuchar, the legislation sponsored in the senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mazie Hirono (d-HI). In the House, the legislation is co-sponsored by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).