Statement of Deborah J. Vagins, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, on Signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
June 25, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Today, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will partially close to the federal “dating partner loophole.” Existing law restricts firearm access for current and former spouses, current and former cohabitants, and people who share a child in common who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and are subject to final domestic violence protective orders. But it excludes dating partners. This is often referred to as the “boyfriend loophole” or “dating partner loophole.”
“We are pleased to see Congress pass common-sense gun safety measures after many years of impasse,” said Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV President and CEO. “This legislation takes steps towards narrowing the federal dating partner loophole by extending firearm restrictions to dating partners convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. However, there is more work to be done. We are disappointed the law does not cover dating partners subject to final protective orders, and we will continue to advocate for agency guidance interpreting ‘dating relationship’ as broadly as possible to reflect the lived experiences of survivors of dating violence,” Vagins continued.
“NNEDV will also continue to work with civil rights and racial justice groups to ensure that any school safety provisions do not further harm. School policing tactics have failed to prevent violence. Instead, they can cause further trauma, contribute to the school to prison pipeline, and disproportionately impact Black students, other students of color, and students with disabilities,” Vagins noted.
“Although this bill is not perfect, it is a first step in enacting gun safety laws at the federal level and it will provide life-saving protections for some survivors. NNEDV is committed to working with our membership of the 56 U.S. state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence and other anti-violence organizations to fully close the dating partner loophole, to advocate for investments in prevention to address the causes of violence, and to continue to urge more progress on common-sense gun laws to make our nation safer for all of us,” Vagins concluded.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 U.S. state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.