'Not there yet': Senators still fighting over 'boyfriend loophole' in gun safety bill
John Cornyn (Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) revealed to Raw Story that the bipartisan Senate group negotiating the gun bill that aims to help stop mass shootings is still being debated. Senators don't have a lot of time left before their two-week break for the Independence Day holiday.

"I think we still have work to do on red flags," said Murphy, noting the group made progress during discussions into Wednesday evening. "But, we're not there yet. We're eager to finish this today and get text out to our colleagues but we're not there yet."

It's unclear what the issue is, as the bill does nothing more than allocate funds to states to help fund the red-flag laws, which allow authorities to temporarily remove weapons from those deemed dangerous.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told Raw Story on Thursday that he's taking issue with the so-called "boyfriend loophole." Federal laws bar those convicted of domestic violence from purchasing firearms if they've been married to, lived with or had a child with the partner.

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"There's already three types of people covered," he complained. The Texas senator then explained that Democrats are seeking those who have a continuing or intimate, romantic relationship."

Existing law ignores anyone who has ever dated. So, if a couple went out a few times and one of the people attacked, raped or otherwise harmed the other, the survivor can file domestic violence charges. But the abuser wouldn't be barred from getting an AR-15.

The detail is one of the top issues for domestic violence advocates, who have long argued that the law denies a huge community of survivors of violence, who are being ignored by the legislation.

Cornyn told Raw Story that the Democrats are still fighting for including all of the possible relationship situations that could be included, so as to ensure there are no loopholes in the future. He doesn't appear to understand the point, however.

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"If you beat the hell out of your girlfriend, and you get convicted in a court of law, there should be consequences," said Murphy.

Instead, he explained that the bill simply needs to happen and that Thursday is the last day to do it.

It's something Murphy disagrees with the assessment, saying, that as he "looks at the calendar we need to get a bill in the next several days."

"We can get it done," the Connecticut senator maintained when speaking to Raw Story. "We can have it in time for our colleagues to debate next week. Obviously, we've all been spending a long time socializing these ideas with our colleagues. Obviously, they all deserve to and should see text, but we've spent a lot of time working through these issues.

Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) told Raw Story that she doesn't "believe that the overall package is in jeopardy" over these specifics. "I'm still optimistic that this will be worth getting and we'll have some sort of solution. So, I think you should talk to the two chief negotiators."

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When she was asked about the so-called "boyfriend loophole" she said, "Let's see what happens. I think it's going to be resolved today."

With additional reporting from Matt Laslo.