Although a high percentage of women murdered by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking in the year preceding the murder, federal law allows convicted stalkers to possess and buy firearms. Moreover, though the law prohibits convicted domestic abusers from accessing firearms, it does not apply to dating partners. The result is that many victims of domestic abuse are particularly susceptible to gun violence.
There is now legislation in both houses of Congress to close those loopholes. In the Senate, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act (S. 1520), while in the House of Representatives, Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) and Robert Dold (R-IL-10) introduced the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (H.R. 3130). The bills, which are identical except for their titles, extend domestic violence protections to include “dating partners” or others “similarly situated to a spouse,” and make it illegal for convicted stalkers to own guns.