The Hotline Applauds Important Steps to Close Dating Violence Firearms Loophole
Austin, TX – The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) applauds the work of the bipartisan group of senators to create and introduce a commonsense bill to reduce firearm violence in the United States. The inclusion of language to partially close the dating partner loophole, also known as the “boyfriend loophole,” by prohibiting those convicted of misdemeanor dating violence from purchasing firearms is a critical step to ensure the safety of all victims. Current law prevents individuals convicted of engaging in domestic violence from purchasing firearms, but no such prohibition exists for those convicted of dating violence. While some states have passed legislation to close this loophole, many states have not and those experiencing dating abuse remain vulnerable to the threat of firearm violence. Many survivors of dating violence are coerced, threatened, or even murdered by their dating partner and preventing access to firearms is critical for their safety and survival.
In 2021, more than 17,000 people who reached out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline shared that firearms were a part of their abusive experience and a recent study found that nearly half of all intimate partner homicides were committed by an unmarried partner. Guns and firearms increase risk factors of violence.
“Survivors in any intimate or dating relationship, regardless of marital status, are vulnerable to the threat of firearms, and sadly lives are lost each year,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We hear stories every day on our lines from survivors whose partners are using firearms to control, coerce and threaten them. We appreciate the senators’ initiative to partially close this dangerous gap and protect millions more people experiencing relationship abuse in this country. We also know while this is a significant step forward that will save lives, there is even more work to be done to ensure that all survivors are protected.”
The Hotline’s safety planning resources around firearms can be found here and our advocates are available 24/7 to support anyone impacted by relationship abuse. The Hotline looks forward to continued work with Congress to ensure that all survivors of violence are protected from firearms.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline envisions a world where all relationships are positive, healthy, and free from violence. If you or someone you know needs help, call The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or go to thehotline.org.