Biden administration wants to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’

Published: April 9, 2021 5:38 PM EDT
Updated: April 9, 2021 6:26 PM EDT

The Biden administration is trying to close a firearm loophole that would benefit victims of domestic abuse.

In some cases, a person who has a restraining order against them is still allowed to own a firearm, which can become deadly.

Florida law does not allow people to own firearms if there is a restraining order against them.

Madonna McGuire and Dileydy Fernandez are two women who were murdered by their domestic abusers.

The two men should not have had a gun.

“We have a lot of survivors that come to me I know he has a firearm, I know he has ammunition,” said Tampa Caldarone, an attorney with the Shelter for Abused Woman and Children. “The affidavit means nothing and unfortunately unless they can prove it or have witnesses, there’s not much else I can do.”

Caldarone said once a judge issues a restraining order in a domestic violence case, the intimate partner can no longer legally own or possess guns.

Both McGuire and Fernandez had restraining orders.

They didn’t help.

“Oftentimes respondents may just see it as a piece of paper and it doesn’t solve the issue the petitioner is in need of for safety,” Calderone said. 

According to the National Organization for Women, 600 women a year are killed by an intimate partner, a boyfriend or husband.

In more than half the country, states only take guns away from an accused abuser if they are married, have a child or live with the victim.

If a partner doesn’t fit that profile, the person gets to keep their weapons.

That’s known as the boyfriend loophole.

President Biden wants Congress to eliminate it.

“I would think that it does give peace of mind to survivors if they can believe that it’s followed up,” Calderone said. 

A restraining order or no restraining order, if a domestic violence suspect wants to get violent the restraining order won’t stop them.

Will Congress follow President Biden’s direction?

Will other states follow Florida’s Law?

The folks at the Shelter for Abused Women and Children hope so.