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Closing the 'boyfriend loophole' with gun legislation

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stands with fellow Democrats holding photographs of the victims of the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, before passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in front of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stands with fellow Democrats holding photographs of the victims of the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, before passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in front of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC.

President Biden signed the most significant bipartisan gun legislation in decades into law over the weekend. It comes after last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

The bill includes funding for mental health services and school security. But lawmakers also say it’ll close what’s known as “the boyfriend loophole.” That means dating partners convicted of domestic abuse will no longer be able to purchase firearms, rather than just spouses and former spouses.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been pushing to close the loophole for a decade. She told NPR on Monday:

600 women a year are killed with guns who are in some kind of a relationship with the guy that does it. Half of those relationships are dating partners, yet the majority of states haven’t closed the loophole. What does that mean? Well it means that people who are convicted, convicted of domestic abuse could still go out and get a gun.

…The states that have closed it have seen a 13 percent reduction in domestic homicide. So we actually have the numbers to prove that this works.

So does the new bill go far enough to close the loophole? And what is still left to be done when it comes to intimate partner homicide involving a gun?

Produced by Haili Blassingame. Text by Mia Estrada.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame, Mia Estrada