Democratic lawmakers renew push for bill that would prevent stalkers and convicted abusers from buying or owning guns, closing so-called ‘boyfriend loophole’ that leaves many victims of domestic violence vulnerable to further violence from current or former partners.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) And Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) Presented the Domestic Violence and Victim Harassment Protection Act Tuesday morning, first shared with HuffPost.
“As a former prosecutor, I saw first-hand the serious emotional and physical consequences that domestic violence and harassment can have on victims, and I know that many fear not only for their own lives, but also for their lives. the safety of their loved ones, ”Klobuchar said in a press release, adding that it is a“ common sense measure that will save lives ”.
The Domestic Violence Protection and Stalking of Victims Act aims to end what is commonly referred to as the “boyfriend loophole,” which has historically allowed convicted domestic abusers to purchase or own property. fire arms. Research shows that having access to a gun makes it five times more likely that an abusive partner will kill their female victim. Nearly half of all women killed in the United States are murdered by a current or former intimate partner, according to the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence. And 76% of women who have been murdered by intimate partners were first harassed by that partner.
“No one should live in fear of a stalker or assailant with easy access to lethal weapons,” Dingell said in a statement. “Stalking and domestic violence are two of the biggest predictors of future violence, and ignoring these warning signs will lead to preventable murders and deaths.”
The bill has 37 co-sponsors in the Senate and a bipartisan companion bill in the House, led by Dingell and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).
Also on Tuesday, members of Congress reintroduced the bipartisan House Background Check Act and the Expansion of Senate Background Checks Act. Both bills ensure that background check procedures are followed for all sales of firearms, including sales to unlicensed firearms dealers. While gun control measures were doomed to fail under the control of Trump and the Republican Senate, supporters are hopeful that Democratic control of the White House and Congress could lead to passage.
“I promised to take this feeling of protection, this love that a mother has for her son, and to use it for my community. That I would dedicate my life to families like mine in Marietta, Georgia who are terrified of sending their children to school and never seeing them come home. Terrified that they will someday be me, ”said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Cosponsor of the House Bill and Deputy Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group of House, who lost her son, Jordan Davis, to gunfire. violence. “Today, we take another historic step to protect our children, to protect our communities, and to save American lives.”
The “boyfriend’s fault” the bill is particularly timely given that intimate partner violence often increases during emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic violence increased in frequency and intensity after crises such as September 11, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Experts say this is likely due to the fact that abusers have more contact with their families during these times and, as support systems crumble in the wake of emergencies, victims are less likely or less likely to be able to ask for help.
With many schools and workplaces remote due to the pandemic, millions of Americans have been forced to shelter in place with their attackers – leaving them isolated with little help from the outside world. Experts saw a increased child abuse and domestic violence reports when the shelter-in-place orders were first implemented last year.
Klobuchar and other lawmakers before called on the Trump administration to ensure that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are not forgotten during the pandemic. Klobuchar, along with a group of two dozen bipartisan senators, have continued demand more resources and funding for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and domestic violence as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in the United States
“Perpetrators of domestic violence use guns to intimidate women and families and trap them in desperate situations,” former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), Security Measures Advocate said in a statement. more stringent. “Last year, when households were forced to shelter in place, the problem worsened because we saw an explosion of violence, too often linked to a firearm. It is time to better protect victims of domestic violence and save lives by passing this law. ”
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