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Dingell Statement on Senate Bipartisan Gun Legislation Narrowing Boyfriend Loophole

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) issued the following after the Senate announced bipartisan gun safety legislation, which includes provisions championed by the Congresswoman that narrows the boyfriend loophole:
“Every community in our country has been impacted by our gun violence epidemic, and it is past time that Congress takes meaningful action to put this devastation to an end. But when we talk about protecting all Americans from gun violence, it is critical that survivors of domestic violence are not forgotten.
“Domestic violence is an issue so pervasive that we often think we are powerless to stop it. Growing up, I lived in a house with a man – my father – that should not have had access to a gun. I remember the terror my siblings and I felt as we hid from him in the closet, or worse, found ourselves having to pull the gun from our father’s hand to stop him from harming our mother. I don’t want any child, spouse, or partner to experience the trauma that my family did. 

“Since I came to Congress, I have been fighting to advance the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act to close the ‘boyfriend loophole,’ a gap in our current law that allows convicted stalkers to buy and possess guns and allows abusive dating partners to have guns simply because they are not married to their victims. I commend the Senate for including some of the provisions from my legislation in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. In its current form, this bipartisan legislation will shrink the boyfriend loophole and save lives, but we need to keep working to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence.

“Today, I also met with the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and several other advocates. We know that our work is far from over and we’re committed to working together to protect survivors of domestic abuse.”

Since 2015, Dingell has led the introduction of the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act to close the boyfriend loophole and keep guns out of the hands of abusive dating partners and stalkers. The bill was reintroduced in 2019 and 2021 and would make 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.
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