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Center For Gun Policy Director Discusses How People Skirt Domestic-Abuse Gun Laws

After the largest mass shooting at a Texas church last Sunday, piecing together what happened and who the shooter was has revealed a gaping hole in federal gun laws.

Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico now say they are working together to close that.

The senators' bill, called Domestic Violence Loophole Closure Act, would prevent troops convicted of domestic violence from acquiring firearms by sending any military domestic abuse charges to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks, or the NICS system, hopefully closing any loopholes between civilian and military lives.

But there are other gun law loopholes, like the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”

If someone is convicted of domestic abuse, they won’t be able to buy a gun but only for people who are/were married, have a child together or co-habiting. Boyfriends don’t have any penalties in this realm.

Dr. Daniel Webster is the director for the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins.

His research deals with intimate partner violence and gun laws, so we asked him about the various ways people can skirt domestic abuse gun laws.

Jorge Valencia was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2016 to 2019.