The Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) commends the U.S. Senate for passing the bipartisan gun safety bill last night, specifically as it relates to closing the ‘boyfriend loophole.’

Restricting gun access for convicted abusers has been a decades long priority for domestic violence advocates. Federal laws currently in place ban abusers already convicted of domestic violence from purchasing or owning a gun if they are married to the victim, live with the victim, or have a child with the victim. Tragically, that same principle does not apply to romantic or dating partners, thus the ‘boyfriend loophole.”

“We are finally close to fixing this dangerous policy gap,” says HAWC CEO Emilee Whitehurst.

“Our clients face threats by their partners, ex-partners, and stalkers. They were never safer because they lacked a marriage license. Closing the boyfriend loophole is a monumental step forward: it will save lives for both survivors and our community,” Whitehurst added.

Abusers who have access to a gun are five times more likely to kill their partner. Up to half of all intimate partner homicide cases in the U.S involved a dating partner.

And as our communities to continue to grapple with the horror of the latest school shooting in Uvalde, it is important to note more than half of mass shootings involved domestic violence. In another study, two out of three of all mass shooters either murdered an intimate partner or family member, or had a history of domestic violence. While there is much more work to do to improve public safety from gun violence, HAWC applauds the Senate for its common sense progress.

About Houston Area Women’s Center:

Serving the Houston area since 1977, HAWC believes in a future defined by safe relationships and caring families, where entire communities thrive free from violence. We offer safety and provides comprehensive, life-saving services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, empowering individuals, families and communities to stop abuse, transform trauma, and achieve independence.
All services are confidential and free of charge. For more information, visit