The “Boyfriend Loophole”
As you may know, I’m a board member for Human Options, a non-profit dedicated to ending interpersonal violence and abuse. I support raising consciousness and awareness about emotional and physical harm.
At a recent Human Options board meeting, the Chief Development Officer orchestrated a roleplay for board members on how to share their motivation for serving. The idea was to create an “elevator speech” to communicate Human Options’ purpose and our commitment to the cause.
We divided into groups of two and were asked to describe Human Options then state our “Why?” My “why” is that I grew up in a domestically violent and abusive environment in the fifties and sixties. There were no shelters, no safe havens.
The other board member then shared his why: “Because Human Options saves lives.”
Wow: succinct and powerful!
The November elections are approaching, and I recently received an email from a candidate running for Congress. To keep politics out of this blog, I won’t reveal the individual; however, I was impressed with his information and decided to include it. The following snippets are from his eBrochure.
The “Boyfriend Loophole”
Did you know that Federal law prohibits convicted domestic abusers from getting a gun? But only if the abuser is, or was, married to his or her victim.
Boyfriends are still allowed to buy and own guns. So can ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, and stalkers — even if they’ve been convicted of domestic violence.
The “boyfriend loophole” creates an enormous vulnerability.
(Both genders are capable of interpersonal violence, but the “boyfriend loophole” label sticks because 70 percent of domestic deaths are women.)
A few states, including California, have enacted stricter laws that close the “boyfriend loophole.” But across the nation, abused victims are vulnerable to gaps in the federal law.
According to an editorial in the New York Times there are as many women killed by dating partners as by spouses.
The most common weapon used? A gun.
The editorial explained the needed legislation would also protect the police. “I am the sheriff of Racine County, Wis., and have been a law enforcement officer for 19 years. I am a conservative Republican,” Christopher Schmaling told lawmakers at a Senate hearing. “When we send our police into danger to respond to domestic violence calls, we send the same folks regardless of the couple’s marital status. Dangerous boyfriends can be just as scary as dangerous husbands; they hit just as hard and they fire their guns with the same deadly force.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. For the safety of women, children, (and men), we need to close the “boyfriend loophole” nationally.
If your congressperson is running for (re-)election, please check their website to determine their position and vote to support new legislation.
Thanks for reading.
Warmest Regards, Michele
P.S. If you like suspense novels, please consider reading my debut novel, Busted, which shows both sides of the drug debate. To buy, click on Amazon. If you’ve read it and liked it, please recommend it to a friend. Thanks!