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WASHINGTON — Bipartisan gun safety legislation unveiled in the Senate this week would close the famous “boyfriend loophole” — with a catch.

Dating partners convicted of domestic violence offenses would lose their gun rights under the proposal, but only for five years.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the top Republican negotiator, said the ability for someone to get their guns back is an incentive “for people who made a mistake and committed domestic violence and were convicted. for a misdemeanor to straighten out their act and not repeat it.

Seventy women are shot by intimate partners each month, on average, according to an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by gun control organization Everytown for Gun Safety.

Federal law already prohibits possession of firearms by people convicted of domestic violence against a spouse or someone with whom they share a child or address. Dating partners living apart were exempted from the ban – which is why gun control advocates call it the boyfriend loophole.

Recent bipartisan gun legislation passed by the House of Representatives would close the loophole with no opportunity for the abuser to reclaim their gun rights, as is currently the case for convicted spouses or parents. . The prohibition also applies to persons subject to restraining orders.

Last week, senators working on the deal said the boyfriend loophole was one of their last major hurdles. Passing a temporary gun ban instead of a permanent ban apparently helped seal the deal.

The negotiators also agreed to a narrower definition of “romantic partner” than that adopted by the House. The new definition considers the “duration” and “nature” of the relationship and “the frequency and type of interaction between the individuals involved”, whereas the House bill clarified that it did not matter whether there was sexual contact in the relationship. The Senate text resembles the language used to define dating partners in a number of state domestic violence laws.

“We’re closing the boyfriend loophole,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the chief Democratic negotiator, said Tuesday. “In states that have already passed this milestone, there are 10% fewer intimate partner deaths.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told HuffPost “there were a lot of complexities,” but declined to go into detail about how negotiators reached an agreement on dating partners. before the Senate passes the bill.

“It’s like asking a surgeon to talk about the operation in the middle of the procedure,” Blumenthal said.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, called the bill “an important and life-saving step forward”, adding that her organization “will continue to work with domestic violence organizations to protect even more women from abuse.” armed attackers”.

The larger bill, which would require greater scrutiny of teenage gun buyers and provide funding for mental health services, school safety and “state crisis response orders,” authorized a procedural vote on Tuesday and could be passed by the Senate later this week. Fourteen Republicans voted for him, making his support completely bipartisan.

Democrats who had pushed to close the boyfriend loophole hailed the bill.

“I’m especially glad it includes provisions from a bill I’ve led for years to close the boyfriend loophole, which will keep guns out of the hands of abusive dating partners convicted of domestic violence. ,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said.

In the past, the National Rifle Association and Republicans have opposed closing the boyfriend loophole. Last year, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) questioned whether “a misdemeanor [should] represent the line crossed for an individual to lose a constitutional right.

Cornyn called the bill ‘a step in the right direction’ nearly a month after an 18-year-old legally bought an assault rifle to slaughter 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde , in Texas. Democrats had called for restrictions on gun sales to people under 21, but negotiators opted for enhanced background checks instead. Cornyn suggested that mental health provisions could prevent future armed teenagers like Uvalde’s killer.

The Texas Republican also stressed that the bill does not infringe on gun rights for anyone not convicted of a crime, describing the boyfriend loophole provision as a protection for victims of domestic violence.

“It doesn’t matter if a person is married to their abuser, if the abuser is convicted of domestic violence, and many people have what I would call non-traditional relationships, whether they live together, whether they have a child together or just having a long-term romantic or intimate relationship,” Cornyn said.

The National Rifle Association has come out against the billthough the organization didn’t specify which provisions sparked its anger, instead saying the legislation opened the door to “unnecessary charges on gun owners’ exercise of Second Amendment freedom.” law-abiding”.

The legislation’s various provisions on background checks and domestic violence are likely popular with voters — as Cornyn noted on Tuesday, referencing a recent poll.

“Eighty-six percent of gun-owning households support this type of protection for victims of domestic violence, where too often a gun is involved,” Cornyn said. “Again, this does not limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners, unless someone is convicted of domestic violence under the laws of their state. Their gun rights to fire will not be affected.



The Huffington Gt

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