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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Republicans try to undo lifelong gun ban for domestic violence misconduct

WASHINGTON – Republicans involved in dual gun safety negotiations have sought to undo a lifelong ban on gun ownership for certain domestic abusers as part of the package.

Before the agreement became law on Saturday, federal restrictions prohibited gun ownership for those convicted of a domestic violence offense against a spouse or intimate partner with whom they lived or shared a child, but did not include dating partners .

The final compromise bill closed the so-called boyfriend loophole, but it came with a catch: After a period of five years, the convict can regain their gun rights as long as they avoid committing another violent crime during that time.

The five-year conditional ban on the gun abuse ban was a key concession by Democrats to secure Republican support for closing the loophole, a long-standing goal of gun safety advocates that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Campaigned in the negotiations. .

Republicans wanted to create a way for spouses and other intimate partners to get their weapons back as well. But a source familiar with the negotiations described it as a “no go” for Democrats.

A spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) confirmed that Republicans want to make the restoration of gun rights available to spouses and similar offenders.

“This category currently has a lifelong ban and we have insisted on changing it,” the spokesman said in an email.

But violations of domestic violence convictions for current or former spouses will still result in a lifelong ban on gun ownership.

“There was just a willingness to apply it to this new population,” Murphy said, referring to dating partners. “That was the nature of the compromise.”

Cinema’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Several categories of people are barred by federal law from owning guns, including those who have committed crimes, have been judged “mentally deficient” or have been dishonorably discharged from the military. Arms rights groups question whether an offense, as opposed to a crime, should land someone on the “prohibited persons” list.

The National Rifle Association, for example, opposed the closure of the boyfriend loophole and said a lifelong gun ban on crimes of domestic violence unfairly violates Second Amendment rights.

“There is good reason that rights are not wiped out for life on the basis of convictions,” the NRA Institute for Legislative Action wrote in a blog post last week. “Apart from the law which considers misconduct less strict than misconduct, defendants of wrongdoing are not always provided with the same level of exhaustive due process as those charged with crimes.”

The group said a charge of domestic violence and a lifelong gun ban could result from “just touching a person’s clothes, bag or something they are holding in their hand in a completely non-violent manner.”

The boyfriend loophole provision was an unexpected part of the dual gun deal, which arose in the wake of two mass shootings by teenagers in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, which left more than 30 people dead. The core group of negotiators have Murphy, Cinema, Cornyn and sen. Thom Tillis (RN.C.) included.

The bill – the most important arms reform in decades – provides funding for mental health services and expands background investigations for teenage gun buyers.

Although Republicans last year blocked bills that empowered the Violence Against Women Act because it would have closed the boyfriend loophole, few Republicans have publicly argued in favor of gun rights for convicted abusers.

Sen. However, Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, described the new gun deal as “soft on crime”Because it allows abusive dating partners to get their weapons back after five years.

“People who are accused, tried and convicted of beating their partner will automatically get their gun rights back after just five years,” Scott said. He was not one of the 15 Republicans who voted for the bill.

Tillis told HuffPost last week that Scott’s criticism of the restoration of gun rights puts him in conflict with gun rights advocates.

“So I think his argument is that he will never want those who are permanently banned from ever being considered for recovery, which is clearly contrary to what many of the gun rights groups are for,” Tillis said.

Igor Bobic reported.

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