CLOSING THE BOYFRIEND LOOPHOLE: PROPOSALS TO PROTECT DATING PARTNERS FROM GUN VIOLENCE

55 Am. Crim. L. Rev. Online 23

Ryan Shymansky* 

Advocates have long argued for restrictions on gun ownership for convicted domestic violence offenders. In 1996, Congress took action and amended the 1968 Federal Gun Control Act to ban certain convicted domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms. Yet, a combination of factors has led to a resurgence in the debate over the adequacy of the Lautenberg Amendment, including the #MeToo movement’s renewed public focus on gender-based violence and several recent mass shootings committed by domestic violence offenders. Some of the most thoughtful proposals aim to expand the reach of the Lautenberg Amendment’s prohibition on gun ownership to dating partners instead of just spouses, co-habitants, and fellow parents. These proposals are driven by the recognition that “[d]angerous boyfriends can be just as scary as dangerous husbands,” and “they hit just as hard and they fire their guns with the same deadly force.” This is an important observation, and lays bare the need for further legislation to protect women in relationships with abusive dating partners from gun violence.

Download full content.