Elizabeth Warren's Gun Violence Prevention Plan Will Close The Boyfriend Loophole

Photo: John Locher/AP/Shutterstock.
In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released a brand new comprehensive plan to fight gun violence. It includes actions she will take if elected president during her first 100 days, and a rigorous restructuring of federal gun laws. Moreover, Warren has specifically announced a plan to eliminate the “boyfriend loophole” that has previously left victims of domestic violence, especially women, particularly vulnerable to gun violence.
“In 2017, almost 40,000 people died from guns in the United States. My goal as President, and our goal as a society, will be to reduce that number by 80%. We might not know how to get all the way there yet. But we’ll start by implementing solutions that we believe will work. We’ll continue by constantly revisiting and updating those solutions based on new public health research. And we’ll make structural changes to end the ability of corrupt extremists to block our government from defending the lives of our people – starting with ending the filibuster,” said Warren.
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Warren outlined a comprehensive legislation proposal. It includes plans to create a federal gun licensing system, requiring universal background checks, increasing taxes on gun manufacturers, establishing a one-week waiting period for all firearms purchases, limiting the amount of firearms purchases that can be made in one month, creating new federal anti-trafficking gun laws, and raising the minimum age for gun purchases.
Specifically regarding the “boyfriend loophole,” and the connection between domestic violence and gun violence, Warren indicated that she plans to attack the problem at both the executive and legislative level. As an executive action, Warren would redefine “intimate partner” to include anyone with a domestic violence conviction involving any form of romantic partner. Then she would turn the issue over to Congress and also expand the law to include individuals with restraining orders or who have been convicted of stalking.
Acknowledging the structural barriers to passing gun legislation, Warren indicates that she will implement specific anti-corruption reforms that will fight against NRA gun lobbying and the right-wing filibuster that previously prevented legislation from passing during the Obama administration shortly after the mass school shooting in Sandy Hook.
In addition to comprehensive legislation, Warren also revealed the executive actions she’d take to reduce gun violence.
“My administration will use all the authorities at the federal government’s disposal to investigate and prosecute all those who circumvent or violate existing federal gun laws. This includes: prosecuting gun traffickers, revoking licenses for gun dealers who break the rules, and investigating the NRA and its cronies,” explained Warren.
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Known for the size and scope of her announced plans, Warren does not stop here. She also includes plans to protect the most vulnerable to gun violence, including women, immigrants, students, and Black and Latinx communities.
Warren’s plans would restrict the movement of guns across the border, prohibit anyone convicted of a hate crime from owning a gun, secure schools by making college and university campuses gun-free zones, and hold gun manufacturers and gun industry CEOs liable to lawsuits from the victim’s families.
She also acknowledged the work already being done in urban communities to combat and interrupt violence, and stated she’d establish a grant program to invest in that work and expand it.
“The data in urban communities indicate that the majority of violence is perpetrated by a small number of offenders, and many cities have found success with programs that identify those at highest risk of becoming the victim or perpetrator of a violent gun crime, then employing strategies to interrupt the cycle of violence before it escalates. Programs that engage the surrounding community, employ mediation to prevent retaliation, build trust with law enforcement, and provide needed long-term social services have been proven to de-escalate tensions and dramatically reduce violence. As president, I’ll establish a grant program to invest in and pilot these types of evidence-based intervention programs at scale,” said Warren.
Finally, Warren specifically outlined how important it is to invest in research in order to better tailor legislation in the future, stating she would budget for an annual investment of $100 million into research that found the root causes of gun violence and the most effective ways to prevent it.
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