Women are often the victims of domestic abuse by their male romantic partners. Domestic abuse can leave emotional and physical damage and even result in death. When a domestic abuser owns or has access to a gun, the victim is five times more likely to be murdered (The Trace 4). The correlation between firearms and fatal domestic abuse is so convincing that research proves that “simply living in a state with a high rate of firearm ownership increases a woman’s risk of being fatally shot in a domestic violence incident” (The Trace 2). Current laws are put in place to prevent these dangerous men from purchasing and owning guns yet 760 Americans are murdered every year with guns by their spouses, ex-spouses, or intimate partners (The Trace 8).
The current federal law bans convicted stalkers and domestic abusers from purchasing a firearm, however this does not include minor stalking charges or an abuser who was not married to the victim or lived together. In fact, according to the federal law, abuse is only considered domestic violence if “the victim is currently or formerly married to or living with his or her abuser, or if the parties have a child together” which allows an abuser who is the victim’s dating partner to purchase a gun. (The Trace 31) Still, only sixteen states “authorize or require the removal of firearms from subjects of temporary restraining orders” (The Trace 35). This breach in the law is deadly and kills women every year when dangerous people are aware of the loophole and take advantage of it (Everytown 43). The federal law also allows domestic abusers to go around the law and purchase guns from private sellers, which does not require a background check. Thirty-eight percent fewer women are shot to death by a romantic partner in states that require background checks for all handgun sales (Everytown 7).
The loophole that allows dating partners convicted of domestic violence to purchase guns is deadly. Every year dating partners kill more women than husbands do (Everytown 37). These intimate partners who are abusers are responsible for a large amount of mass shootings. Even if a boyfriend is convicted of domestic assault, and the two partners did not live together or have a child together, he would be able to pass a background check and purchase a firearm. If a girlfriend of an abuser took out a restraining order against the boyfriend, even if the man is identified as a threat to her safety, the abuser would still be legally allowed to buy a gun (Everytown 39). This “Boyfriend Loophole” is dangerous and needs to be closed.
65% of Americans support banning people who have been issued a restraining order or convicted of stalking from owning a gun, yet congress has not done so. To attack this problem head on, Congress should close the loopholes to prohibit any person convicted of domestic abuse or stalking. On a state level, laws should be strengthened to require background checks on all gun sales and to prohibit the possession of a gun by persons subject to a restraining order. Congress should pass the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act which requires background checks for all gun sales (Everytown 55).

“Guns and Violent Against Women.” Everytown, https://everytownresearch.org/reports/guns-
and-violence-against-women/. Accessed 7 Nov. 2017.
Shaw, Kerry. “12 Facts That Show How Guns Make Domestic Violence Even Deadlier.” The
Trace, 22 Aug. 2016, https://www.thetrace.org/2016/08/15-facts-that-show-how-guns-
make-domestic-violence-even-deadlier/. Accessed 7 Nov. 2017.
Montgomery, David, Richard A. Oppel Jr., and Hose A. Delreal. “Air Force Error Allowed Texas
Gunman to Buy Weapons.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 6 Nov.
2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/us/texas-shooting-
heading&module=span-ab-top-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news. Accessed 7
Nov. 2017.
Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway, “Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other
High-Income OECD Countries, 2010,” America Journal of Medicine. Accessed 7 Nov.



  1. Allison 3 years ago

    Hi I thought your essay was great,
    Anytime I hear about domestic abuse it makes me super sad. Those you love should never ever hurt you whether it be physically or emotionally. What shocked me is when you wrote” In fact, according to the federal law, abuse is only considered domestic violence if “the victim is currently or formerly married to or living with his or her abuser, or if the parties have a child together” which allows an abuser who is the victim’s dating partner to purchase a gun.” I can honestly say I never knew that you actually had to be married to someone for these laws to apply I think anytime someone lays a hand on someone there should be repurcussions. In todays society, Teen influencers have normalized things such as abuse and gun violence and I believe that is very wrong. We should be teaching children to fight with knowledge not with there hands. Adults don’t just start learning to abuse others when they are old, it starts from a young age. If we end the glamorization of abuse and other terrible things in hollywood, songs, and video games maybe things could change and this wouldn’t be such a big epidemic.

  2. Nate 3 years ago

    Emily, your piece was very well written and informative. Your voice carried through your work as if you were speaking directly to your audience, and I had no idea about this issue of the “boyfriend loophole” and i couldn’t agree more with your solution. Hopefully this issue will be lessened in the future.

  3. Damian 3 years ago

    GOod job though

  4. Damian 3 years ago

    I found your title really appealing and that’s what interested me in reading your piece. I found that the argument was very well backed but I’m left with two questions. Were the women who were killed having an affair or was it just because the lack of stability of the male. Lastly what about men who had restraining order but weren’t necessarily correct. A friend of mine had a restraining order placed on him because he had supposedly raped her but he didn’t. So you would do a background check on him and deem him unfitting of a gun because of something that he didn’t even do. So the question I have is what will you do with situations like that?

  5. Molly 3 years ago

    This is a great essay. You ethos was perfect and used a myriad of sources to enforce your point. Gun control is always a difficult problem. Restrictions towards abusers is a good idea. Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. Good job!

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