Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2019, the District of Columbia enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. The law, called an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, family member, dating partner, household member, or mental health professional to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others.1 If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO (called a respondent) must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order. A court may also issue a search warrant which directs law enforcement to search for guns, registration certificates, concealed carry licenses, and firearms dealer licenses in the respondent’s possession.2

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the respondent and, with exceptions, lasts no later than 10 days during which time the court must hold a hearing to determine whether to issue a year-long order.3

The respondent can submit one request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.4

Read more about Extreme Risk Protective Orders on our policy page.

Other Laws

The District has no other laws specifically requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

A police officer, in the course of a lawful arrest or lawful search, who discovers a dangerous article he or she reasonably believes is a nuisance, must take possession of the article and surrender it to the property clerk of the Metropolitan Police Department.5 A “dangerous article” includes a handgun, machine gun and sawed-off shotgun.6 A dangerous article unlawfully owned, possessed, or carried is a nuisance.7

Notes
  1. 2017 DC B 1068, Act 629 (effective until April 30, 2019); 2017 DC B22-0588, Act A22-0620 (projected law date June 6, 2019). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4517(b), (c). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4517(a). ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4517(b). ⤴︎