The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) applauds Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for their leadership in introducing H.R. 569 and S.120, companion bills to close loopholes in federal law that allow dating abusers and stalkers to possess firearms. Current federal law prohibits some perpetrators who are subject to final domestic violence protective orders or convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor crime from possessing firearms. However, this only applies in cases where the perpetrator is a current or former spouse, lives or used to live with the victim while in a romantic relationship or shares a child with the victim. Existing law does not prohibit dating abusers or stalkers from possessing firearms. By extending current law to cover dating partners and stalkers, H.R.569/S.120 provides the protection from gun violence already afforded to some victims/survivors of domestic violence to all victims/survivors.
“Abusers use guns to intimidate, control, terrorize, and murder their victims,“ says Ruth Glenn, NCADV’s President/CEO. “Eighty percent of domestic violence calls made to law enforcement are related for dating violence. It is past time for Congress to recognize that armed dating abusers pose a serious safety threat to their victims and their communities.”
Approximately 1,000 women are murdered by current or former intimate partners every year, half of whom are killed by dating partners. A majority of these women are killed with firearms. Furthermore, 76% of domestic violence homicide victims were stalked prior to their murders. By protecting victims/survivors of dating abuse and stalking from gun violence, H.R.569/S.120 will empower women and others and save lives.