Every 16 hours, someone in the United States is shot and killed by a current or former dating partner. The Violence Against Women Act was created to address the dangers of domestic violence, but is dangerously insufficient. The federal law strips convicted domestic abusers of their guns -- but only if they are or have been married to their victim, live with the victim, have a child together or are a victim's parent or guardian. While this undoubtedly saves lives, the law doesn't apply to stalkers and current or former dating partners, leaving what many call the "boyfriend loophole."
This loophole means thousands of abusers are still granted access to guns. Sign the petition to urge Congress to update the Violence Against Women Act!
Just owning a firearm makes an abuser five times more likely to take their partner's life. Due to the boyfriend loophole, if your current or former dating partner has been convicted of domestic violence, they are still able to own a firearm -- this has life threatening consequences.
While thirty-three states have already taken steps to close the loophole, it's time for Congress to update the federal law to protect dating violence victims across the U.S. Statistics show closing the loophole saves lives -- States that ban partners and dating abusers from having guns have a 10% lower rate of intimate partner homicide.
Recently, Congress worked to update the Violence Against Women Act since its creation in the 90s -- which means it can do it again. While the new version includes protections for Native American, transgender and immigrant women, it's narrow definition of abuse still leaves far too many people at risk. Congress must amend the out-of-date wording to include a broader and more accurate idea of what domestic abusers look like. Doing this will literally save lives.
Approximately half of intimate partner homicides in the US are committed by dating partners. Sign the petition to urge Congress to update the Violence Against Women Act to include dating partners and stalkers.