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Reps. Dingell, Dold Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Domestic Abuse, Stalking Victims from Gun Violence

Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Congressman Robert Dold (IL-10) introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3130, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, to protect women who are victims of domestic violence and stalking by closing loopholes that allow abusers and stalkers access to guns. 

“No woman and no child should ever live in fear of their life or their safety because of domestic violence,” said Dingell. “We should do everything we can to prevent families from experiencing senseless tragedies. This bipartisan, commonsense bill will help ensure every woman and child is protected – and it will save lives.”

“As a society, we should have zero tolerance for domestic abuse and need to do everything we can to stop domestic violence from turning into domestic murder,” Dold said. “This commonsense, bipartisan solution protects women and keeps communities safe, while respecting the rights of responsible, law-abiding citizens.”

Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Dold announced the bipartisan legislation today at an event co-hosted by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. 

“I applaud Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Dold for doing the responsible thing and offering a commonsense, bipartisan solution that would help protect vulnerable women and their families. In so many communities around our country, guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix. There is no doubt: dangerous people with guns are a threat to women, and the loopholes in our laws are one reason we have such a problem in our country with gun violence against women,” said Congresswoman Giffords. “By closing the loopholes that let abusers and stalkers get guns, this law would make our country a safer place to live - and it would save lives. I am grateful to Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Dold for standing up for common sense, and I hope their colleagues in Congress join them in supporting this badly needed legislation.”

The Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act makes two commonsense updates to federal law to address existing loopholes that make it easy for perpetrators of dating violence and those convicted of misdemeanor stalking to legally access guns. The bill would:

  1. Ensure people who have abused dating partners are prohibited from buying or owning firearms: Current federal law prohibits someone from owning a gun if they are convicted of abusing a spouse, someone they live with, or someone they have a child with from getting guns. But federal law does not include people who have abused a current or former dating partner. Abuse of a dating partner is as unacceptable as domestic abuse, plain and simple.
  2. Close the loophole that lets some convicted stalkers access guns: This legislation clarifies existing law to make clear that convicted stalkers cannot legally purchase a firearm. Stalking is a sadly accurate predictor of future violence. One study of female murder victims found that 76 percent of women murdered by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking in the year preceding the murder. 

Since 2008, states have enacted over 30 new laws addressing the nexus of access to guns and domestic violence. In 2014 alone, six states enacted laws to protect domestic violence victims: Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin. In 2015, leaders in Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and Washington have also passed similar legislation to protect women and families from abusers with guns. 

The Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act would make these protections the national standard. For more information on the bill, please click here.

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