April 3 (UPI) -- Democrats are seeking to expand the Violence Against Women Act to close the so-called boyfriend loophole amid opposition from the National Rifle Association.
As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., drafted a provision to be added to the 1994 law that would strip stalkers, current or former boyfriends or dating partners convicted of domestic abuse of their firearms.
"Domestic abusers are prohibited from buying or owning a firearm if they've ever been married to the victim, lived together or had a child together, but a dangerous ex-boyfriend or a dating partner, there's nothing to stop them," Dingell said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said women are just as likely to be killed by dating partners as by spouses.
"Dangerous boyfriends can be just as dangerous as dangerous husbands. They hit just as hard and they fire their guns with the same deadly force," she said.
The NRA has said it will "score" the vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, tracking and publishing how lawmakers vote.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told the New York Times that the offenses that could qualify as domestic abuse are "too broad and ripe for abuse" to extend the provision to stalkers, boyfriends and dating partners.
"Like if you were sending harassing messages to somebody on Facebook, to somebody you never met or somebody you dated five years ago... how it's written right now, you could be convicted for a misdemeanor stalking offense for a tweet that causes someone emotional distress and then you would be prohibited from owning a firearm," she said.
The NRA said it supports the Violence Against Women Act without the proposed changes.
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nevada, believes the NRA's stance ignores the victims of domestic violence.
"They're more interested with protecting the profits of gun manufacturers than they are with protecting the safety of women," he said.