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Dingell, Fitzpatrick Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Survivors of Dating Violence, Stalking from Gun Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and U.S Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today introduced the bipartisan Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, legislation that protects survivors of dating violence and stalking by closing loopholes that allow abusers and stalkers access to guns. Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“No person should live in fear of a stalker or abuser with easy access to deadly weapons,” said Rep. Dingell. “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. This legislation will end a dangerous loophole that has been exploited too often in our communities with tragic consequences.”

"It is vitally important that Congress take action to empower survivors of domestic violence with the security they need. Our Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act takes a commonsense, measured approach to prevent convicted abusers and stalkers from accessing weapons,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “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.”

“Perpetrators of domestic abuse use guns as a way to intimidate women and families and trap them in desperate situations. It should anger all of us how many abusers and stalkers are able to slip through cracks in our laws and obtain guns. This past year, as households were forced to shelter in place, the problem became worse as we saw an explosion in violence, too often connected to a gun. It’s time to better protect victims of domestic violence and save lives by passing this legislation. I thank Senator Klobuchar along with Representatives Debbie Dingell and Brian Fitzpatrick for their steadfast commitment to ensuring that America finally confronts the horrors of guns and domestic violence,” said Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  

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.
  1. 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 40 new laws addressing the nexus of access to guns and domestic violence. The Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act would make these protections the national standard.


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