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Kaine & Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Domestic Abuse Survivors from Gun Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in introducing the Lori Jackson-Nicolette Elias Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence. The bill was named in honor of Lori Jackson of Connecticut and Nicolette Elias of Oregon, who tragically lost their lives to gun violence when they were killed by their abusive partners.

“Every year, survivors of domestic violence tragically lose their lives to gun violence, and we must do more to ensure they’re protected,” said Kaine. “This bill would better protect domestic violence survivors by keeping guns out of the hands of abusers.”

Specifically, the Lori Jackson-Nicolette Elias Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act would:

  • Restrict individuals under emergency restraining orders from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Current federal law prevents domestic abusers from purchasing or possessing a firearm only when a court issues a final restraining order, leaving survivors unprotected when there is only a temporary or emergency restraining order.
  • Extend protections to domestic violence survivors who have been abused by their dating partners. The current definition of “intimate partner” used to prohibit domestic violence abusers from purchasing a firearm includes spouses, former spouses, people with a child in common, and cohabitants; however, many survivors of domestic violence were never married, do not live with their abuser, and have no children.
  • Establish a new grant program to help state and local governments implement policies that keep firearms out of the hands of domestic violence perpetrators while they are subject to a temporary or emergency restraining order. These policies include: requiring a domestic violence abuser to surrender or sell any firearm or ammunition in their possession; revoking their permit or license to purchase, possess or carry a firearm or ammunition while the restraining order is in effect; and requiring that a background check be performed before any firearm or ammunition is returned to the person subject to the restraining order.

Kaine has long supported efforts to prevent gun violence and make our communities safer. Last year, Kaine voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, landmark legislation to curb gun violence. Kaine has introduced legislation to close the loophole that allows gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed within a certain time period and legislation to ban the marketing of firearms to children. He has also introduced the Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violencewhich would improve background checks, strengthen safeguards for victims of domestic violence, and establish a federal Extreme Risk Protection Order process to remove firearms from individuals who pose a high risk of harming themselves or others.

In addition to Kaine, Blumenthal, and Wyden, the bill was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT). Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT-4).

The Lori Jackson-Nicolette Elias Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act is endorsed by Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Jewish Women International, March for Our Lives, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, and Sandy Hook Promise.

Full text of the bill is available here.