Shaheen, Hassan & Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Keep Guns From Stalkers and Protect Women from Domestic Abuse
**Legislation closes the ‘boyfriend loophole’ and prevents convicted stalkers from buying a gun**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act with a group of Senators to close what is commonly referred to as the ‘boyfriend loophole.’ This legislation will prevent people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms and stop convicted stalkers from possessing a gun.
According to the Department of Justice, nearly half of the cases resulting in women being killed by intimate partners involve a dating partner, and 76 percent of women who were murdered by intimate partners were first stalked by their partner. The bill has 37 cosponsors in the Senate. A bipartisan companion bill in the House of Representatives is led by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“Domestic and sexual violence is a serious, pervasive problem in this country that is exacerbated by glaring loopholes in our laws that allow abusers to easily access firearms and endanger the lives and well-being of survivors and their families,” said Shaheen. “Congress must act to right this wrong by passing the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, commonsense legislation that will help save lives and provide survivors with the safety and security they need. Protecting and supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence will continue to be a top priority for me in the Senate.”
“Survivors of domestic or sexual abuse should not have to fear for their lives because of a dangerous loophole that allows their abuser to legally purchase a firearm,” said Hassan. “This commonsense legislation would help protect survivors and save lives by preventing convicted stalkers and abusers from being able to purchase a weapon. We must get this done, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in supporting this important bill to help prevent senseless acts of gun violence.”
This legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Last month, Senator Shaheen successfully added an amendment to the budget resolution – which cleared the Senate unanimously – that supports organizations serving survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
Shaheen is the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and is a leader in Congress on efforts to combat domestic and sexual violence, and to bolster resources to help survivors stay safe, recover and seek justice. Last year, Senator Shaheen visited the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) in Concord where she met with NHCADSV’s leadership and representatives from crisis centers to hear more about the impact COVID-19 has had on survivors and the state’s crisis centers.
Throughout the pandemic, Senator Shaheen has worked to provide more resources and services to domestic violence survivors nationwide. Shaheen and Hassan have called on Congressional leadership to include additional funding to support the victims of family violence, domestic violence and dating violence in COVID-19 legislative packages. During the last Congress, Shaheen and Hassan introduced the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act, strongly-supported bicameral legislation to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to establish basic rights and protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Her bill, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was signed into law in 2016 and created the first federally codified rights specifically for sexual assault survivors and for the first time allowed survivors the opportunity to enforce those rights in federal court. Last year, Shaheen introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act to build on the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act by incentivizing states to pass legislation that guarantees the survivors rights included in the federal legislation. For the third year in a row, Senator Shaheen – Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the OVW – successfully added the highest funding amount ever for Violence Against Women Act programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 government funding.