On February 14, 2019, one year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings, Reps. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Don Beyer (VA-08) introduced the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019. The bipartisan bill encourages states to allow family members or law enforcement officials to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from an individual in crisis.
The bill would help ensure that law enforcement or family members can seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) or Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) from the courts, to temporarily stop someone who poses an immediate threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a gun. States that adopt these preventative measures would be eligible to receive federal funding under the grant program to help pay for the implementation and processing.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein will also introduce the companion Extreme Risk Protection Order Act in the Senate.
The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would encourage states to take the following steps to help prevent gun violence:
- Enable families and law enforcement to go to court to seek an extreme risk protection order to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm;
- Enable courts to issue a warrant that would allow law enforcement to take temporary possession of firearms that are in an individual’s possession if the court determines that the individual poses a threat to themselves or others; and
- Ensure that law enforcement makes full use of all existing state and local gun databases when assessing a tip, warning, or request from a concerned family member or other close associate.
Specifically, under Section (2) of the bill, “the term ‘extreme risk protection order’ means:
a written order or warrant, issued by a State or Tribal court or signed by a magistrate (or other comparable judicial officer), the primary purpose of which is to reduce the risk of firearm-related death or injury by –
(A) prohibiting a named individual from having under the custody or control of the individual, owning purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm; or
(B) having a firearm removed or requiring the surrender of firearms from a named individual.”
On introducing the bill, Representative Don Beyer (VA-08) said: “One year ago, the country lost 17 students and teachers in Parkland to gun violence because multiple warning signs failed to prevent a mass shooting.
The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act could have stopped this tragedy from happening and saved those lives.
ERPOs give families and law enforcement a vital tool to stop those who pose a threat to themselves or others from having access to guns, and they are already saving many lives in the states that have adopted it.
It is rare to have legislative solutions that could prevent disasters of the scope of Parkland or Virginia Tech, and rarer still to have bipartisan support for those measures. Both are the case for this bill. Congress should pass it with all possible haste.”
Source: Office of Rep. Salud Carbajal
Currently, just 13 states have ERPO laws in place. The 2014 shooting in Isla Vista, CA, near the University of California, Santa Barbara, prompted the passage of an ERPO law in California that same year. Similarly, Florida passed ERPO legislation one month after the Parkland, FL shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
These comments were posted on edhat Santa Barbara on February, 14, 2019.