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Senators team up for bipartisan bill preventing domestic abusers from buying guns

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.) are joining forces to draw up a bill that would "prevent anyone convicted of domestic violence — be it in criminal or military court — from buying a gun," Flake announced Tuesday.

Congress technically already made it illegal for anyone convicted of domestic abuse to buy a gun in 1996, although poor databases and background checks can result in abusers obtaining weapons anyway, The New York Times reports. For example, the law's so-called "boyfriend loophole" means the measure only applies if the victim and abuser live together, are married, or have a child.

Specifically, Flake and Heinrich aims to close a loophole in which the military has failed to report domestic violence misdemeanors to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, CNN's Jake Tapper reports. Separately, in 2014, one study found that almost 12,000 people convicted of misdemeanor-level stalking were allowed to own firearms.

Flake's announcement follows the Texas church massacre Sunday that left 26 people dead. The attacker, Devin Patrick Kelley, had previously pleaded guilty to a 2012 assault of his wife and infant child. The Air Force did not enter into a national database the 2012 domestic violence court-martial, which would have prohibited Kelley from purchasing weapons.