Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

The So-called “Boyfriend Loophole” is About Undermining the Second Amendment

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The So-called “Boyfriend Loophole” is About Undermining the Second Amendment

At present, federal law generally bars anyone who is convicted in any court for a domestic violence felony, or any felony for that matter, from possessing firearms. But federal law also imposes a lifetime firearm possession prohibition on those who have been convicted in any court of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” (MCDV). Under the federal statute, in order for a misdemeanor conviction to trigger the firearm ban, the conduct must have been both “violent” and “domestic.”

First, to meet the violence” prong, the crime must have as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.” This may seem straightforward, but the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively read the violence” component out of the definition of MCDV.

In U.S. v. Castleman (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court determined that a persons use of physical force need NOT be violent in order to trigger the firearm prohibition. Rather, such physical contact may consist of only the slightest offensive touching” necessary for common law battery. In fact, under the common law battery standard, merely touching a persons clothing, bag, or something they are holding in their hand in a completely non-violent manner could give rise to a lifetime firearm prohibition.

Second, to meet the domestic” component, the crime must have been committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.” These are categories that are readily understood.

This current lifetime firearm prohibition for a MCDV treats the Second Amendment as a second-class right. No other fundamental, enumerated Constitutional right is permanently lost for a misdemeanor conviction. There is good reason that rights are not extinguished for a lifetime based on misdemeanor convictions. In addition to the law viewing misdemeanor conduct less harshly than felony conduct, misdemeanor defendants are not always provided with the same level of exhaustive due process as those charged with felonies.

Proponents of the original MCDV firearm prohibition contended that the supposed unique nature of domestic violence” required a firearm prohibition for those convicted of misdemeanors. They claimed domestic crimes that should have been felonies were often reduced to misdemeanors because abused spouses and children were reluctant to cooperate with prosecutors due to financial and emotional dependence on the abuser or a shared responsibility for raising children.  Therefore, it was argued, the only way to keep firearms away from these should-be violent felons was to prohibit those convicted of a MCDV from possessing guns.

Here is where the so-called boyfriend loophole” comes in.

Having done away with the violence” requirement of the MCDV prohibitor through the courts, gun control activists now want to eliminate the domestic” component by expanding the categories of relations that give rise to a prohibiting domestic violence” conviction to include a dating relationship.”

Under the current federal prohibition, boyfriends” and other intimates are already covered if the relationship has an actual domestic” component (children in common, cohabitation, etc.). Therefore, the proposed prohibition expansion to “dating partners” targets relationships without this domestic” component and lacks the justifications involving emotional and financial attachment or interdependence that gave rise to the original MCDV prohibition.

Given the complexity of human relationships, the fluidity of modern dating culture, and Congresss express attempt to go beyond an actual domestic” context, it is reasonable to ask: What constitutes a dating relationship?” Good luck trying to find out.

No matter what Congress might put in statute, it will be up to anti-gun Attorney General Merrick Garland and the federal courts to flesh out the details. And Americans can be certain that the gun control lobby will be there every step of the way to ensure the definition is interpreted as broad as possible.

Imagine how the elimination of the domestic” component of MCDV definition would interplay with the elimination of the violence” component that has already taken place. Extending MCDV prohibition offenses to “dating partners,” a broad, vague term that involves none of the interdependence that purportedly justified the original prohibition, is a clear example gun control opponents’ attempts to vastly expand the list of Americans prohibited from possessing firearms.  

The idea that there are “loopholes” for domestic violence perpetrators are false. The legal and criminal justice systems have the necessary tools to prohibit dangerous individuals from possessing firearms – including prosecuting felonious level conduct as a felony.

Domestic violence crimes can and should be taken seriously under the law. The NRA supports that, just as we support empowering the abused to defend themselves and their families. We what do not support is exploiting real problems, like domestic violence, to opportunistically target civil rights, like the Second Amendment and constitutional due process.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Domestic Violence Lautenberg
TRENDING NOW
California Using Tax Dollars to Racially Profile Gun Owners

News  

Monday, August 15, 2022

California Using Tax Dollars to Racially Profile Gun Owners

California gun owners have been under siege for the past year - even by the not-so-Golden State’s standards. In September 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB-173, which allows for the disclosure of highly sensitive ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Supreme Court Signals It May Rein In Federal Rulemakers

News  

Monday, August 8, 2022

Supreme Court Signals It May Rein In Federal Rulemakers

While most of the attention from the end of the United States Supreme Court’s last term focused on several landmark cases, including a major win for gun owners in the NRA-supported case New York State Rifle ...

Oregon: Faulty Gun Control Ballot Measure Summary Approved

Friday, August 12, 2022

Oregon: Faulty Gun Control Ballot Measure Summary Approved

This week, the Explanatory Statement Committee approved Ballot Measure 114’s (formerly IP 17) summary that will appear in the voter pamphlet.

California: Appropriations Committees Pass Anti-Gun Bills to Floor

Friday, August 12, 2022

California: Appropriations Committees Pass Anti-Gun Bills to Floor

Yesterday, the Appropriations Committees of both chambers considered bills previously placed on the suspense file. SB 505, which would have required gun owners to carry insurance and held them strictly civilly liable, was held in committee, while the ...

Canada’s Liberals Bypass Parliament to Further Gun Control Agenda

News  

Monday, August 15, 2022

Canada’s Liberals Bypass Parliament to Further Gun Control Agenda

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced Bill C-21, proposing a permanent freeze on the sale, transfer and import of handguns in Canada. The bill remains at the initial stages and did not pass prior to ...

When Seconds Count, the Police are Only Hours Away

News  

Monday, August 8, 2022

When Seconds Count, the Police are Only Hours Away

After violent unrest and looting in 2020 that Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot admitted had “spread like wildfire” throughout parts of Chicago, the mayor nonetheless “urged Chicagoans not to take matters into their own hands in this concealed ...

Another Good Guy with a Gun Stops the Bad Guy

News  

Monday, July 25, 2022

Another Good Guy with a Gun Stops the Bad Guy

On July 19, 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken was shopping with his girlfriend at the Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Ind. when a gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in the food court. Upon witnessing the ...

House-Passed Gun Ban Shows the Importance of the Election This November

News  

Monday, August 1, 2022

House-Passed Gun Ban Shows the Importance of the Election This November

On Friday, after a last-minute rule change to allow its consideration, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1808.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.