WASHINGTON – The leader of the Senate Republican campaign arm came out against a bipartisan gun compromise on Thursday, calling the bill “soft on crime” for not permanently banning gun ownership by domestic abusers.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) criticized the bill as both too strict, because it would encourage states to enact “red flag” laws confiscating guns from dangerous people, and not strict enough, because it would allow abusive dating partners to get their guns back after five years.
“People who have been accused, tried and convicted of beating their significant other would automatically get their gun rights back after just five years,” Scott said in a statement. “I will not support soft-on-crime policies like this.”
Scott’s statement ― a likely preview of future attacks on Democrats for supporting the legislation ― is somewhat surprising, since the part of the bill addressing the so-called “boyfriend loophole” is one of its strictest provisions.
Federal law prohibits gun ownership by anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against a spouse or someone with whom they live or share a child. However, a dating partner convicted of the same crime can keep their guns under current law.
The bipartisan bill would close the boyfriend loophole, something Democrats have long wanted to do. But as a compromise with Republicans, the proposal would allow misdemeanor-convicted dating partners to get their guns back after five years if they avoided another conviction for a violent crime.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the lead GOP negotiator on the deal, dismissed Scott’s characterization of the provision on Thurs...