Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2019

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer Jackman

Abstract

The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban (DVOGB) is a federal policy that prohibits people convicted of domestic violence or under a restraining order from having access to firearms. However, the DVOGB only bans gun purchases made by spouses, former spouses, and cohabitating partners convicted of domestic abuse. It does not cover abuse between dating partners, creating a “dating partner loophole” in gun violence policy.

This thesis combines this policy issue with existing canon on grassroots activism to create a political action toolkit, a series of digital and printable materials that aim to empower young people, feminist groups, and anti-domestic violence organizations to generate public and Congressional support for new legislation to close this loophole. I use an analysis of legislative action in each U.S. state to determine what current policy does or does not do to protect domestic violence victims from gun violence, as well as a comparison of current and former campaigns related to this issue to inform my organizational strategies in achieving federal policy change.

The toolkit includes materials for raising awareness of this policy loophole among the general public, guides to contacting elected officials, and instructions on lobbying in political offices. The toolkit also aims to include and highlight the needs of those at higher risk of homicide by firearms, such as women of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Accompanying literature includes additional background research on the policy issue as well as campaign and policy analysis.

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