One of the measures in the bipartisan gun control bill closed the so-called boyfriend loophole. The new law expanded the definition of domestic violence to include those who don’t cohabitate with one another, which may well create new issues down the road.
Unsurprisingly, the Associated Press is in favor of the new measure. Like in many similar cases, when they wrote a story about the new law, they used an example to elicit an emotional response.
Nikiesha Thomas was on her way to work one day when she told her sister that she was thinking about getting involved with domestic violence prevention.
The idea gave Keeda Simpson pause. Her younger sister had never mentioned anything like that before, and she was bringing it up in a phone call just days after filing for a protective order against her ex-boyfriend.
It was their last conversation.
Less than an hour later, Thomas’ ex-boyfriend walked up to her parked car in a southeastern neighborhood of the nation’s capital and shot through her passenger window, killing the 33-year-old.
It’s cases like hers, where warning signs and legal paperwork weren’t enough to save a life, that lawmakers had in mind this summer when they crafted the first major bipartisan law on gun violence in decades.
Wait…legal paperwork? That’s right. Thomas had a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend.
While the AP used this as evidence of why the “boyfriend loophole” needed to be closed, this particular example is actually illustrative of just how little that measure will actually accomplish. After all, if laws themselves were sufficient to keep people safe, then the protective order against him should have been sufficient.
Further, there’s absolutely no evidence that the alleged killer was ever arrested for domestic violence or any other violent offense prior to killing Thomas. If there were never any charges filed, how would a law closing the “boyfriend loophole” have prevented her murder in the first place?
Now, understand that no one supports domestic abusers.
However, one problem with the so-called loophole is that it’s far too easy to make a claim about a relationship that simply never happened. Couple that with the fact that many such abusers are never prosecuted, and you have the guilty keeping their guns while the innocent may end up losing them.
Just how is that right in any way, shape, or form? It ain’t.
Thomas’s death is tragic and horrible, a life cut short for no reason except a little “man’s” petulant rage. However, looking at her case, it’s hard to see her as the poster child for closing the “boyfriend loophole” rather than an example of all the different ways the law is insufficient as a way to stop bad people from doing bad things to good people.
Then again, in fairness to the AP, I’d imagine it would be impossible to find someone who isn’t an example of just that, because that is just how it goes. You’re not going to stop bad people from doing bad things. A protective order doesn’t stop them and neither will gun control.