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Bill stops dating partner abusers from getting guns

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — A new bill by U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Bob Dold, R-Illinois, aims to include dating partners in the category of domestic abusers who are prohibited from purchasing or owning firearms under federal law.

Federal law currently prohibits people from owning or buying firearms if they are convicted of abusing a spouse, someone they lived with or had a child with, but not those who abused current or former dating partners.

“Abuse of a dating partner is as unacceptable as domestic abuse,” Dingell said Wednesday when introducing the bill.

The Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act is a companion bill to one by Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, in the Senate.

Dold said, “This is not about lawful gun ownership but about trying to make sure we have a bipartisan solution to get the guns out of the hands of convicted abusers.”

They point to crime data to make their case.

More non-fatal violence against women was committed by a current or former boyfriend (39 percent) than a current or former spouse (25 percent), according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Michigan has recorded 341 domestic violence homicides from 2003 to 2012, with more than half involving gun violence, according to state data.