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Smells Like Infringement

Anti-Gun Playbook: All Boyfriends Are Abusers Now

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This is, hands-down, one of the anti-gunners’ neatest tricks.

Amid all the furor about “red flag” laws, something has been lost: For decades now, it has been very simple to have someone’s gun rights revoked for life even if their crime was a misdemeanor, and even if that crime doesn’t rise to the level of what most Americans consider violence. It’s tough to discuss publicly, because the argument is spring-loaded with a powerful public stigma: Domestic violence. Nobody wants violent abusers to have access to guns, but there’s a little problem of late: The definitions of “domestic,” “violence,” and “abuse” have been evolving even faster than the definition of “woman.” NRA-ILA, which is the lobbying arm of the NRA, calls it “the boyfriend loophole.” Of course, the anti-gunners are just wild to widen that loophole to an interstate. Here are the hard facts, sifted out from all the emotion:

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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 person’s 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 person’s 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 Congress’s 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.

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NRA-ILA is financially separate from NRA’s corporate entity, and is the part of the NRA that does all of the lobbying on Capitol Hill. You can support them without buying Wayne LaPierre a new wardrobe by clicking here.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Jim

    June 24, 2022 at 10:34 am

    This is just the latest way to break up families before they even begin. Let’s be honest, who in their right mind is going to get into a relationship knowing that if things go south, your life can be destroyed simply at the whim of a pissed off X. People better think twice if this actually becomes law. Judges no longer care about the law, or individuals rights. Breakups may actually become more deadly because of such unconstitutional attacks at the expense of actually solving the issues.

  2. Big Al 45

    June 24, 2022 at 10:21 am

    And yet, the ‘Girlfriend” loophole is rarely prosecuted when a GF buys a gun for her Ex con BF (I.E., the ‘straw purchase”)
    The lack of these prosecutions in light of this ‘Boyfriend loophole’ push is telling, and I believe exemplifies the claim that the Demmies want gun confiscation and have little interest in REAL crime control.

  3. Charles Gilbert

    June 23, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    This is one of the reasons that pres bidet is trying to get our guns outlawed, so that when China and other enemies of our great country invade we won’t have the means to defendemocrats.
    I am surprised that he has not disbanded the Military like he wants the police force disbanded. Why do you think he gave away all of our equipment in the middle east to our enemies there.
    We really need to get rid of that toilet faced idiot and the rest of the demoncrats.
    And now we owe so much money to China, that he is just giving our land to them.maybe it is time to move to the mountains and hide from those who wish take everything away from us.
    Forgive me, I am just venting and blowing off steam.

    • Charles Gilbert

      June 23, 2022 at 12:50 pm

      P.S defend ourselves. This is a correction to my earlier post.

  4. Randy Justice

    June 23, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    GUN CONTROL IS ONE’S ABILITY TO HIT HIS TARGET, PERIOD !!!! F**K JOE BIDEN !!! I can hardly wait for November !!!!

  5. CCHGN

    June 23, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    IF you make gun owners criminals, then only criminals will have guns.

    I’m very upset that this mag simply explained away a very UNconstitutional law on the books- forcing a felony punishment onto a misdemeanor, violating the 8th Amendmant and the 2nd A.
    “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.” NO! There is CLEARLY a LONG precedent that spells out the difference between misdemeanor crimes and felony crimes. That “woulda,coulda, shoulda” crap is crap! SO,THEY have a crystal ball to say what EACH and EVERY case SHOULD HAVE BEEN??!? Utterly ridiculous! I can’t believe anyone is going along with that! Especially SCOTUS.

  6. James

    June 23, 2022 at 10:27 am

    This ” boyfriend loophole” is pushed by the gun banning groups.

    They want to disqualify as many people from owning firearms..

    The gun banning groups have managed in many states to get many types of firearms banned, so now they are doing the same with people.

    This ” boyfriend loophole” is so vague, like the article says, how do they know who is dating whom? Just because someone says they are?
    And why is it always the man’s fault?

    When a couple is getting a divorce, the woman’s attorney with always put down the ex was abusing the wife and children, even if he wasn’t. It ends up he said she said.

    I know one friend that’s been married and divorced twice.
    He told me that when they were dating, his ex’s were so nice and sweet, but once they got married and got the ring on their finger, they went from that nice, sweet girl to a raging psycho bitch. He said that they were all mentally unstable.

    What happens if a man dates a woman a couple of times and decided that she wasn’t his type, but the woman becomes obsessed with him and will do anything for revenge? ” You break up with me, I’ll fix you!!” She makes false claims and gets a restraining order against him. Then the fellow can never own a firearm again.

    Another article mentioned that if someone got into a school fight at 18 and got arrested, that they would never be allowed to own a gun for the rest of their life.

    Does this bill include pushing, shoving, yelling? How far out can it go?

    If someone is blocking your way, and you push them out of the way, does that mean you can never own a gun again?

    And it can include those neighbors that you complained about, the ones with the barking dogs, the ones who throw all night beer parties, the ones who reeve they diesel truck engine, many will want to get even with you.

    The gun banning groups want people disqualified from purchasing a firearm if they got a speeding ticket, parking ticket, DUI, don’t have a dog license, anything to stop people from owning guns!

    There are over 2 million laws on the books in America, with something like 100 more added every week.

    It is said one cannot drive to work or go grocery shopping without breaking half a dozen laws. So that makes everyone a criminal and that’s what the gun banning groups and gun banning politicians want, so that no one could ever purchase a firearm.
    Support and protect your right to keep and own all types of firearms and accessories.

    Don’t allow the gun banning groups and far leftist power crazed politicians to restrict and ban firearms in America.

    The gun banning groups and hunting banning groups are run and funded by Micheal Bloomberg, George Soros, the Chinese government, Russia, North Korea and Mexico.

  7. Pops

    June 23, 2022 at 9:51 am

    This is only going to get worse. As they keep selling more U.S. land to China more & more will be under Chinas government control. We will have to have laws that China agrees to.

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