WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As a child, Rep. Debbie Dingell says, she pulled a gun away from her father to stop him from shooting her mother.
“It brings back memories that sit in my heart and soul,” Dingell, D-Mich., said. “Guns in volatile cases are dangerous and have devastating consequences.”
She said the experience is why she’s backing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which includes a provision that would close what she calls the “boyfriend loophole” by preventing all convicted abusers from purchasing a gun.
The measure is expected to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“So that no child, no child, ever has to experience what I have lived through,” Dingell said.
In 2019, the bill passed the House with bipartisan support but stalled in the Senate, then controlled by Republicans. While the act overall has support from the majority of Congress, some Republicans argue the boyfriend loophole provision infringes upon the rights of legal gun owners.
Democrats now control the Senate, but by a narrow margin. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, says she will reintroduce a more Republican-friendly version of the bill in the Senate to “ensure rural communities are a priority and hold predators accountable.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he has not yet reviewed the House bill and expects to do so once it arrives before the Senate.
“I believe we’ll have jurisdiction in the Judiciary Committee and I’ll have a chance to review it then,” he said.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Congress to pass the act quickly, saying an uptick in domestic violence as people have been kept at home during the pandemic is a pandemic in itself.