Extreme Risk Protection Orders in California

In 2014, California enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law.1 California’s law refers to these orders as Gun Violence Restraining Orders or GVROs and has been in effect since January 1, 2016.2

California’s law authorizes law enforcement officers and other specified categories of people to file petitions for a civil court order called a GVRO to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms when they are found to pose a significant risk to themselves or others by having legal access to firearms or ammunition.3

Eligible petitioners include:

  • A law enforcement officer (or, effective September 1, 2020, an officer may file a petition in the name of their employing law enforcement agency);4
  • Family and current or recent household members of the person named in the petition.5
  • Effective September 1, 2020, the employer of the person named in the petition, or a coworker, who has had substantial and regular interactions with the person for at least one year if the coworker has obtained approval from the employer to file a GVRO petition;6
  • Effective September 1, 2020, an employee or teacher at a secondary or postsecondary school that the person named in the petition has attended in the last six months, if the employee or teacher has obtained approval from a school administrator or administration staff member with a supervisorial role to file a GVRO petition.7

If the judge concludes that the respondent poses a danger to self or others (as discussed below), the court may issue a Gun Violence Restraining Order to temporarily suspend the respondent’s legal access to guns and ammunition. This order prevents that person from passing a background check to obtain weapons and may also authorize law enforcement to remove any weapons in the respondent’s possession. Like domestic violence restraining orders, GVROs can be issued on an emergency basis upon request from a law enforcement officer. After a noticed hearing, courts may issue GVROs for one year;8 effective September 1, 2020, courts will also be authorized to issue GVROs for between one and five years in certain circumstances.9 Once issued, GVROs may be renewed or terminated prior to their expiration.

Emergency Orders

A court may issue an ex parte GVRO, prior to providing notice and a hearing, if the court finds there is a substantial likelihood that the respondent poses a significant danger to self or others in the near future by having legal access to firearms or ammunition and that a GVRO is necessary under the circumstances to prevent such harm.10 To make this determination, the court must examine the petitioner and any available witnesses under oath, or require the petitioner and any witnesses to submit written affidavits submitted under oath.11 This order, if issued, will last 21 days, by which time the respondent should be notified (“served”) and a hearing should be held on whether to issue a full GVRO order.

In more immediately urgent cases, law enforcement officers may also obtain temporary emergency GVROs, if the court finds reasonable cause to believe that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of harm to self or others and that a GVRO is necessary under the circumstances.12 These emergency GVROs may generally be in effect for no more than 21 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a full GVRO.13

Orders after Notice and a Hearing

To initiate the standard GVRO process (for GVROs issued “after notice and a hearing”), an eligible petitioner must file a petition with a court on forms provided by the California court system.14 In most cases, the court is required to provide notice of a hearing to the respondent and hold a hearing within 21 days of receiving the petition.15

At the hearing, the petitioner has the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others by having access to firearms or ammunition and that a GVRO is necessary to prevent personal injury because less restrictive alternatives have been tried and found to be ineffective, or are inadequate or inappropriate for the respondent’s circumstances.

In determining whether to issue a GVRO, the court must consider specified evidence, including whether the respondent has:

  • Made threats or acts of violence against self or others within the past six months
  • Exhibited any pattern of violent acts or threats within the previous 12 months
  • Violated domestic violence protective orders
  • Been previously convicted for any crime prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms16

The court may also consider any other evidence that is indicative of an increased risk for violence, such as:

  • The respondent’s history of violence or physical force against others
  • Unlawful and reckless use of firearms
  • Recent acquisition of weapons
  • Ongoing abuse of drugs or alcohol17

If, after the hearing, the judge concludes that there is clear and convincing evidence to issue a GVRO, the court will issue a GVRO prohibiting the respondent from accessing or acquiring firearms or ammunition for one year.18  Effective September 1, 2020, courts will be authorized to issue GVROs after notice and a hearing lasting between one to five years, depending on the court’s determination regarding how long the circumstances giving rise to the GVRO are likely to continue.19

If the court issues a GVRO, it must also order the respondent to relinquish any firearms or ammunition that he or she owns or possesses.20 There is no fee for law enforcement to serve the order. When officers do serve the order, they are required to ask the restrained party to relinquish any firearms they own or possess. The respondent is required to immediately relinquish his or her weapons to the officer, upon request. Alternatively, if a law enforcement officer does not serve the order, the respondent is required to sell or temporarily transfer his or her weapons to a licensed firearms dealer or the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of being served with the order.21 The law enforcement officer or dealer taking possession of the respondent’s weapons is required to issue a receipt to the respondent; the respondent is then required to provide this receipt to the court that issued the GVRO, and to provide a copy of the receipt to the law enforcement agency that served the GVRO, within 48 hours.22 For further information on firearm relinquishment for GVROs in California, see the information and relinquishment forms provided to GVRO respondents by the courts.

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that a GVRO be lifted23 and for petitioners to request that the GVRO be renewed and extended.24

California makes it a crime to file a petition for a GVRO knowing the information in the petition to be materially false or with an intent to harass the respondent.25

California law will also generally require all local law enforcement agencies, by January 1, 2021, to develop, adopt, and implement written policies and standards regarding the use of GVROs, including protocols that encourage officers to consider obtaining GVROs in various circumstances, and standards to ensure firearms are removed from GVRO respondents.26.

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Notes
  1. 2014 CA AB 1014. ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Pen. Code § 18122. ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18150(a), 18170. ⤴︎
  4. 2019 CA AB 12, amending Cal. Pen. Code § 18109(b). ⤴︎
  5. The law authorizes “immediate family members” to serve as petitioners but defines that term to mean “any spouse, whether by marriage or not, domestic partner, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.” See Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18150(a)(2), 18170(b) (referencing definition in Cal. Pen. Code § 422.4(b)(3). ⤴︎
  6. See 2019 CA AB 61, repealing and replacing Cal. Pen. Code § 18150. ⤴︎
  7. See 2019 CA AB 61, repealing and replacing Cal. Pen. Code § 18150. ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Pen. Code § 18170. ⤴︎
  9. 2019 CA AB 12. ⤴︎
  10. Cal. Pen. Code § 18150(b). ⤴︎
  11. Cal. Pen. Code § 18155(a). ⤴︎
  12. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18125, 18145. ⤴︎
  13. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18148, 18165, 18195. ⤴︎
  14. Cal. Pen. Code § 18105. The petition is required to include information about the number, types, and locations of any firearms and ammunition that the petitioner believes are possessed or controlled by the subject of the petition. Cal. Pen. Code § 18107. ⤴︎
  15. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18150, 18165, 18175, 18195. ⤴︎
  16. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18175(a), 18155(b)(1). ⤴︎
  17. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18175(a), 18155(b)(2). ⤴︎
  18. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18175(c), (d), 18120(a). ⤴︎
  19. 2019 CA AB 12, amending Cal. Pen Code § 18175(d). ⤴︎
  20. Cal. Pen Code § 18120(b). ⤴︎
  21. Cal. Pen Code § 18120(b)(2). The respondent may store his or her weapons with the agency or dealer for the duration of the order. ⤴︎
  22. Id. ⤴︎
  23. Cal. Pen. Code § 18185. ⤴︎
  24. Cal. Pen. Code § 18185, 18190. ⤴︎
  25. Cal. Pen. Code § 18200. Petitioners may also be subject to perjury charges for submitting knowingly false information to the courts under oath. ⤴︎
  26. 2019 CA AB 339 ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Colorado

In 2019, Colorado enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.1 The law, called an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, or family or household member to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others. 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 must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order.

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to 14 days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.2

The respondent can submit one request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.3

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. 2019 CO HB 1177. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Connecticut

Connecticut has a law similar to an extreme risk protection order law which allows for the removal of firearms from people who pose a risk of injury.

In Connecticut, a state’s attorney or any two police officers may file a complaint to any Superior Court judge for seizure of a firearm or ammunition when they have probable cause to believe that:  1) a person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself, herself or others; 2) the person possesses one or more firearms; and 3) the firearm is within or upon any place, thing or person.1 Probable cause may be based on:

  • Recent threats or acts of violence directed towards self or others;
  • Recent acts of cruelty to animals;
  • Reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm;
  • A history of use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against others;
  • Illegal use of controlled substances or abuse of alcohol; or
  • Involuntary confinement to a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities.2

The judge may then issue a warrant commanding a law enforcement officer to search that person, place, or thing, and take any and all firearms or ammunition into custody.3 The court must hold a hearing no later than 14 days after execution of the warrant to determine whether the seized firearms and ammunition should be returned to the person named in the warrant.4 If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or others, it may order the state to continue to hold the firearms and ammunition for up to one year.5

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). ⤴︎
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(b). Any person whose firearms have been ordered seized under this statute, or his or her legal representative, may transfer the firearms in accordance with the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33 or other applicable state or federal law, to any person eligible to possess firearms. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(e). ⤴︎
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(d). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Delaware

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on June 27, 2018, Delaware enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family and household members and law enforcement officers– to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. In Delaware, these orders are called Lethal Violence Protection Orders. If the court determines that the person (known as a “respondent”) poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others, it will issue an order prohibiting the respondent from purchasing or possessing guns for one year.1 An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement. Law enforcement officers may also petition for an emergency order, which only requires a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that there is an immediate and present danger.2 An emergency order lasts for fifteen days, and can be extended up to forty-five days.3

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7704. ⤴︎
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7703. ⤴︎
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7703(f). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Florida

Following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law. The law authorizes law enforcement agencies to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.1 Law enforcement officers or agencies may file ERPO petitions when they have information that a person “poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by having a firearm or any ammunition in his or her custody or control or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or any ammunition.”2

In order to obtain an ERPO, a law enforcement officer or agency must file a petition in the county where the petitioner’s law enforcement office is located or the county where the respondent resides,3 supported by a written affidavit, signed under oath, containing specific evidence of the respondent’s dangerousness.4

In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter.5 If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by having a firearm or ammunition in his or her custody or control, the court must issue a risk protection order for a period that it deems appropriate, up to and including but not exceeding 12 months.6 The risk protection order prohibits the respondent from possessing, acquiring, or attempting to acquire any firearms while the order is in effect.7 The respondent is required to surrender his or her firearms and ammunition to local law enforcement and to relinquish any concealed carry permit to the licensing agency as well.8 If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that there are firearms or ammunition owned by the respondent that are in the respondent’s custody, control, or possession which have not been surrendered, the officer may seek a search warrant to search for the respondent’s firearms or ammunition.9

In urgent cases, a court may issue an emergency temporary ERPO, prior to providing notice and holding a hearing, if the court finds reasonable cause based on detailed allegations in the ERPO petition that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm or ammunition.10 The temporary ERPO will generally only be in effect for up to 14 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a longer ERPO.11

Florida’s law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an ERPO be lifted12 and for petitioners to request that the ERPO be renewed and extended.13

Upon termination of the ERPO, the agency holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.14

Florida makes it a third-degree felony to make a material false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an ERPO hearing.15

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Notes
  1. Fla. Stat. § 790.401, et seq. (enacted in 2018 by 2018 FL SB 7026). ⤴︎
  2. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(2)(e). ⤴︎
  3. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(2)(b). ⤴︎
  4. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(2)(e). ⤴︎
  5. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(3). ⤴︎
  6. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(3)(b). ⤴︎
  7. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(11)(b). ⤴︎
  8. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(7)(a). ⤴︎
  9. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(7)(b). ⤴︎
  10. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(4)(a). ⤴︎
  11. Fla. Stat. §§ 790.401(4)(f), 790.401(3)(a). ⤴︎
  12. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(6)(a). ⤴︎
  13. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(6)(c). ⤴︎
  14. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(8)(a). ⤴︎
  15. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(11)(a). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Hawaii

In 2019, Hawaii enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to disarm a person in crisis.1 The law, called a gun violence protective order, also known as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, family or household member, medical professional, educator, or coworker to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year and prohibits the individuals from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish any guns or ammunition in his or her possession to law enforcement and will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition for the duration of the order.

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to 14 days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.2

The respondent can submit a request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.3

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-61 et seq. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Illinois

In 2018, Illinois enacted the Firearms Restraining Order Act.1 Effective since January 1, 2019, this law now authorizes a person’s family or household members,2 as well as law enforcement officers, to petition a circuit court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to six months.

In order to obtain a Firearms Restraining Order (FRO), the petitioner must file an affidavit or verified petition with the circuit court in the county where the respondent resides alleging that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. 3 In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter within 30 days.

If the judge concludes that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the respondent is a significant danger with firearms, the court will issue a 6-month FRO prohibiting the respondent from possessing or receiving firearms for the duration of the order.4  If the court issues an FRO, it must also order the respondent to temporarily transfer to local law enforcement any firearms, FOID Card, or concealed carry license in his or her possession.5

In urgent cases, petitioners can request an emergency FRO by filing an affidavit or verified pleading with the court alleging that the respondent poses an “immediate and present danger” of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.6  In such cases, courts are required to hold an ex parte hearing (without waiting for the respondent to receive notice of the hearing) on the same day the emergency petition is filed or the next day the court is in session.7  If the judge finds probable cause to believe a respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to self or others with firearms, the judge will issue an emergency FRO, which generally lasts for up to 14 days.8 If the court also finds probable cause that the respondent already possesses firearms, the court is also required to issue a search warrant directing a law enforcement agency to seize the respondent’s firearms. The court may, as part of that warrant, direct the law enforcement agency to search the respondent’s residence and other places where the court finds there is probable cause to believe he or she is likely to possess the firearms.9

Upon termination of the FRO, law enforcement holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an FRO be lifted and for petitioners to request that the FRO be renewed and extended by six months.10

Illinois law makes it a crime to knowingly present false information in an FRO petition.11

For more information about laws similar to the Firearms Restraining Order, visit our policy page on Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. See 2017 IL HB 2354 ⤴︎
  2. The Firearms Restraining Order Act defines eligible petitioners to include either a law enforcement officer or a “family member” of the respondent. The Act defines “family member” for these purposes to mean “a spouse, parent, child, or step-child of the respondent, any other person related by blood or present marriage to the respondent, or a person who shares a common dwelling with the respondent.” See Id., Section 5 (“Definitions”). ⤴︎
  3. Id., Section 40(a). ⤴︎
  4. In considering whether to issue a 6-month FRO, the court shall consider evidence including, but not limited to, the following:

    (1) The unlawful and reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm by the respondent.

    (2) The history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person.

    (3) Any prior arrest of the respondent for a felony offense.

    (4) Evidence of the abuse of controlled substances or alcohol by the respondent.

    (5) A recent threat of violence or act of violence by the respondent directed toward himself, herself, or another.

    (6) A violation of an emergency order of protection issued under Section 217 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or Section 112A-17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 or of an order of protection issued under Section 214 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or Section 112A-14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.

    (7) A pattern of violent acts or violent threats, including, but not limited to, threats of violence or acts of violence by the respondent directed toward himself, herself, or another.

    See Id., Section 40(e). ⤴︎

  5. Id., Section 35(g) and 40(h). ⤴︎
  6. Id., Section 35. ⤴︎
  7. Id., Section 35(d), (e). ⤴︎
  8. Id., Section 35(i). ⤴︎
  9. Id., Section 35(f), (f-5). ⤴︎
  10. See id., Section 45. ⤴︎
  11. See id., Section 35(c) and 40(c). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Indiana

Indiana has a process similar to an extreme risk protection order that allows law enforcement to remove firearms from people who pose a risk to themselves or others.

Under Indiana law, a “dangerous individual” is defined to include a person who:

  • Presents an imminent risk of personal injury to himself, herself or another person; or
  • It is probable that the individual will present a risk of personal injury to himself, herself or another person in the future and he or she:

Has a mental illness that may be controlled by medication, and has not demonstrated a pattern of voluntarily and consistently taking the individual’s medication while not under supervision; or

Is the subject of documented evidence that would give rise to a reasonable belief that he or she has a propensity for violent or suicidal conduct.1

A circuit or superior court may issue a warrant to search for and seize a firearm in the possession of a “dangerous individual” if:

  • A law enforcement officer provides the court a sworn affidavit describing the facts that have led the officer to believe the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm. The affidavit must also describe the officer’s interactions and conversations with:

The individual who is alleged to be dangerous; or

Another individual, if the law enforcement officer believes that information obtained from this individual is credible and reliable;

  • The affidavit specifically describes the location of the firearm; and
  • The circuit or superior court determines that probable cause exists to believe that the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm.2

Law enforcement officers may seize firearms from any individual whom the law enforcement officer believes to be dangerous without obtaining a warrant. In such an instance, the officer must submit to the court having jurisdiction over the individual an affidavit describing the basis for the officer’s belief that the individual is dangerous within 48-hours of the seizure.3

If the court finds that probable cause exists to believe the individual is dangerous, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to retain the firearm.4 Following the seizure of firearms with or without a warrant, a law enforcement agency must file a search warrant return with the court setting forth the quantity  and type of each firearm seized.5

If the court finds that there is no such probable cause, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to return the firearm to the individual.6

After the filing of a search warrant return or an affidavit following a warrantless search, the court shall conduct a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days following the filing of the return or affidavit.7 At the hearing, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is dangerous as defined.

If the court determines that the state has met its burden of proof, the court shall issue a written order:

  • ordering the law enforcement agency having custody of the seized firearm to retain the firearm;
  • ordering the individual’s license to carry a handgun, if applicable, suspended; and
  • prohibiting the individual from possessing, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.

The court must also determine whether the individual should be referred to further proceedings to consider whether the individual should be involuntarily detained or committed.

If the court finds that the individual is dangerous, the clerk shall transmit the order to the office of judicial administration for transmission to NICS.8

If a court orders a law enforcement agency to retain individual’s firearm, the individual may petition the court for a determination that he or she is no longer dangerous at least 180 days after the initial ruling.9 The petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is not dangerous to obtain the firearm.10

Prior to one year from the date the order is issued, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is still dangerous and, if the court finds the state has met its burden of proof, the order will be continued and the respondent must wait 180 days to petition to terminate the order as described above.11

If the court has ordered the law enforcement agency to retain possession of the firearm, the respondent may petition the court to require the agency to transfer the firearm(s) to a “responsible third party” or a federally licensed gun dealer.12 A “responsible third party”13 is someone who:

  • does not cohabitate with the person found to be dangerous in the hearing;
  • is a proper person (as defined under section 35-47-1-7) who may lawfully possess a firearm; and
  • is willing to enter into a written court agreement to accept the transfer of the firearm as a responsible third party.

See our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-1(a). ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2. ⤴︎
  3. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(a), (b). ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(b). ⤴︎
  5. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2(b), 3(e). ⤴︎
  6. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(b). ⤴︎
  7. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-5. ⤴︎
  8. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-6. ⤴︎
  9. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(a). ⤴︎
  10. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(e). ⤴︎
  11. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(e), (g). ⤴︎
  12. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-10. ⤴︎
  13. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-1.5. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Maryland

In 2018, Maryland 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 (also known as extreme risk protection order or ERPO laws), allows a law enforcement officer, family member, dating partner, mental health professional, or health officer 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 must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement.

Read more about these types of laws on our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-601 et seq., as added by Md. H.B. 1302 (2018). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Massachusetts

In 2018, Massachusetts enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, to authorize a person’s family members,  household members, and current or former dating partners, as well as the law enforcement FID Card licensing authority in the jurisdiction where the person resides, to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.1

In order to obtain an ERPO, the petitioner must file a petition with a court under oath, which does the following:2

  • States any relevant facts supporting the petition;
  • Identifies the reasons why the petitioner believes the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by having in the respondent’s control, ownership or possession a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, weapon or ammunition;
  • Identifies the number, types and locations of any firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, weapons or ammunition the petitioner believes to be in the respondent’s current control, ownership or possession;
  • Identifies whether there is an abuse prevention order pursuant to chapter 209A, a harassment prevention order pursuant to chapter 258E or an order similar to an abuse prevention or harassment prevention order issued by another jurisdiction in effect against the respondent; and
  • Identifies whether there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition or other legal action between the parties to the petition.

In most cases, the court is required to provide notice of a hearing to the respondent and hold the hearing within 10 days of receiving the ERPO petition.3

If, after the hearing, the judge concludes by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by having control, ownership or possession a firearm or ammunition, the court will issue an ERPO Order prohibiting the respondent from possessing or receiving firearms for the duration of the order.4

If the court issues an ERPO, it must also order the respondent to relinquish any licenses to carry firearms or FID card, and all firearms and ammunition that the respondent controls, owns or possesses, to the licensing authority of the municipality where the respondent resides.5 The clerk magistrate of the court will also notify the local licensing authority where the respondent resides that an ERPO has been issued, and the licensing authority must immediately suspend the respondent’s license to carry firearms or FID card and immediately notify the respondent of said suspension.6 The local licensing authority will also file receipts with the court verifying that the respondent properly relinquished his or her firearms.7

In urgent cases, a court may issue an emergency ERPO, prior to providing notice and a hearing, if the court finds reasonable cause to conclude that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by being in possession of a license to carry firearms or FID card or having in control, ownership or possession a firearm or ammunition.8 The emergency ERPO may generally only be in effect for up to 10 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a longer ERPO.

Upon termination of the ERPO, the licensing authority holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.9

Massachusetts makes it a crime to file a petition for an ERPO knowing the information in the petition to be materially false or with an intent to harass the respondent.10

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131R. This law defines eligible petitioners to include a person’s “family or household member, or the licensing authority of the municipality where the respondent resides, related by blood or present marriage to the respondent, or a person who shares a common dwelling with the respondent.” “Family or household member” is defined to mean a person who: (i) is or was married to the respondent; (ii) is or was residing with the respondent in the same household; (iii) is or was related by blood or marriage to the respondent; (iv) has or is having a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; (v) is or has been in a substantive dating relationship with the respondent; or (vi) is or has been engaged to the respondent.” Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 121. ⤴︎
  2. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131R(b). ⤴︎
  3. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S. ⤴︎
  4. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(c). ⤴︎
  5. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(d). ⤴︎
  6. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(f). ⤴︎
  7. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(g). ⤴︎
  8. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131T. ⤴︎
  9. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(i). ⤴︎
  10. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131V. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Nevada

In 2019, Nevada enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.1 The law, called an order for protection against high-risk behavior, also referred to as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, or family or household member to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others. 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 must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order.

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to seven days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.2

The petitioner can submit a request to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.3

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. 2019 NV AB 291. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in New Jersey

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, New Jersey passed an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family and household members and law enforcement officers– to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.1 If the court determines that the person (known as a “respondent”) poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others, it will issue an order prohibiting the respondent from purchasing or possessing guns for one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement.2

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. §  2C:58-20 et seq. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-26(b). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in New York

In 2019, New York 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 Protection Order (ERPO) law, allows a law enforcement officer, family or household member, or school administrator 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 must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order. An ERPO may also order law enforcement to search for guns in the respondent’s possession.2

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to six days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.3

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

Anyone who resides with someone subject to an ERPO is required to store their firearms securely.5

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. NY S 2451/ A 2689. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Oregon

In 2017, Oregon enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law that allows family or household members1 and law enforcement officers to petition a civil court for an order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.

In order to obtain an ERPO, the petitioner must file a sworn affidavit alleging that the respondent presents a risk in the near future, including an imminent risk, of suicide or of causing physical injury to another person. In determining whether the respondent poses this risk, the court must consider the following evidence:

  • A history of suicide threats or attempts or acts of violence by the respondent directed against another person;
  • A history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person;
  • A previous conviction for:
    • A violent misdemeanor that would subject someone to a gun prohibition under Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.470;
    • A stalking offense or a similar offense in another jurisdiction;
    • A domestic violence offense;
    • Driving under the influence of intoxicants; or
    • An offense involving cruelty or abuse of animals;
  • Evidence of recent unlawful use of controlled substances;
  • Previous unlawful and reckless use, display or brandishing of a deadly weapon by the respondent;
  • A previous violation by the respondent of a domestic violence order;
  • Evidence of an acquisition or attempted acquisition within the previous 180 days by the respondent of a deadly weapon; and
  • Any additional information the court finds to be reliable, including a statement by the respondent.

If the court determines that the petitioner has met his or her burden by clear and convincing evidence, the court will issue an ERPO that prohibits the respondent from having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive, a deadly weapon. The court may issue the ERPO on the same day the petition is submitted to the court or on the judicial business day immediately following the day the petition is filed without notice to the respondent.

If the respondent contests the ERPO, he or she has 30 days from being served with the order to request a hearing, and the hearing must occur within 21 days of the request. If the respondent does not request a hearing, the ERPO automatically becomes operative for one year from the date the original order was issued. The respondent may request one hearing to terminate the order during its 12-month effective period. The petitioner may also request a renewal of the order within the 90-period prior to the order’s expiration. If the petitioner requests a renewal of the order, the court will hold a hearing at which the petitioner bears the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent still poses a risk in the near future of suicide or physical injury to others.

After an ERPO is issued, the court must order the respondent to relinquish, within 24 hours, all deadly weapons in his or her custody, control or possession to a law enforcement agency, a gun dealer, or a third party who may lawfully possess the deadly weapons. The respondnet must relinquish any Oregon concealed handgun licenses to law enforcement. If a law enforcement officer is serving the ERPO, he or she must request that the respondent immediately surrender weapons and licenses to the officer. If the respondent indicates an intent to surrender to a gun dealer or third-party, the respondent must identify the dealer or third party to the officer. If the officer takes possession, he or she must issue a receipt to the respondent and file a copy with the court that issued the order.

Upon termination of the ERPO, law enforcement holding any weapons will return the weapons to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.

It is a misdemeanor to file for an ERPO with the intent to harass the respondent or knowing that the information in the petition is false.

For more information about laws similar to Oregon’s Extreme Risk Protection Order, visit our policy page on Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Family or household member means a spouse, intimate partner, mother, father, child or sibling of the respondent, or any person living within the same household as the respondent. 2017 OR SB 719. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Rhode Island

In 2018, Rhode Island also enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, which authorizes law enforcement agencies to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.1 Law enforcement agencies are now required to file ERPO petitions upon receiving credible information that a person poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm.2

In order to obtain an ERPO, a law enforcement agency must file a petition with the superior court of the county in which the respondent resides3 supported by a written affidavit, signed under oath, regarding specific evidence of the respondent’s dangerousness.4 The agency must also file a sworn affidavit requesting a search warrant for the search of any firearms in the respondent’s possession, custody, or control.5

In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter.6 The court may also consider whether a mental health evaluation or substance abuse evaluation is appropriate, and may recommend that the respondent seek such evaluation.7

If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue a one-year ERPO8 that prohibits the respondent from possessing, acquiring, or attempting to acquire any firearms while the order is in effect.9 If law enforcement officers do not execute a warrant to remove the respondent’s firearms, the respondent is required to relinquish his or her firearms to the petitioner law enforcement agency and to relinquish any concealed carry permit to the licensing agency as well.10

In urgent cases, a court may issue an emergency temporary ERPO, prior to providing notice and holding a hearing, if the court finds probable cause from specific facts shown by the petition that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm.11 If a court issues a temporary ERPO in these emergency cases, it is also directed to issue a search warrant requiring the petitioning law enforcement agency to remove any firearms in the respondent’s possession.12 The temporary ERPO may generally only be in effect for up to 14 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a longer ERPO.13

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an ERPO be lifted14 and for petitioners to request that the ERPO be renewed and extended by one year.15

Upon termination of the ERPO, the agency holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.16

Rhode Island makes it a crime to file a petition for an ERPO or provide information for use in an ERPO knowing the information in the petition to be materially false or with intent to harass the respondent.17

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Notes
  1. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-1, et seq. (enacted in 2018 by 2017 RI H 7688 and 2017 RI S 2492. ⤴︎
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-3(c). ⤴︎
  3. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-2. ⤴︎
  4. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-3(d), (e). ⤴︎
  5. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-3(b). ⤴︎
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-5(a), (d). ⤴︎
  7. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(e). ⤴︎
  8. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(a). ⤴︎
  9. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-3(b), 8-8.3-5(e)(6). ⤴︎
  10. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(e)(6). ⤴︎
  11. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-4. ⤴︎
  12. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-4(b). ⤴︎
  13. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-4(f). ⤴︎
  14. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(a). ⤴︎
  15. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(c). ⤴︎
  16. (R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-8. ⤴︎
  17. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-810(c). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in the District of Columbia

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 Protection 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 14 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 Protection Orders on our policy page.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2510.01 et seq. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Vermont

In 2018, Vermont enacted a limited Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, which authorizes certain prosecutors—either State’s Attorneys or the Office of the state Attorney General—to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to six months.1

In order to obtain an ERPO, an eligible petitioner must file a petition with the superior court either in the county where the petitioner is located, the county where the respondent resides, or the county where the events giving rise to the petition have occurred.2  The petition must be supported by a sworn affidavit including specific facts to support the petitioner’s allegations that the respondent poses an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent’s custody or control.3

In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter within 14 days after the petition was filed, after providing notice to the respondent.4

If, after the hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses an extreme risk of causing harm to self or others by purchasing, possessing, receiving, or having custody or control of a firearm, the court will issue an ERPO prohibiting the respondent from possessing or acquiring firearms for up to six months.5

In emergency cases, a State’s Attorney or the Attorney General may instead request that the court issue an ex parte temporary ERPO, prior to providing notice and holding a hearing. 6  In such cases, the court will issue an ex parte ERPO if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time the ERPO is requested, the respondent poses an imminent and extreme risk of causing harm to self or others by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or by having a firearm within his or her custody or control.7 The temporary ERPO may generally only be in effect for up to 14 days, before the court holds a full hearing “as soon as reasonably possible” within that timeframe regarding whether to grant a longer ERPO.8

Unless the court orders an alternate procedure for relinquishment, people subject to ERPOs are required to relinquish their firearms immediately upon receiving notice of the order, either to a law enforcement agency or a federally licensed firearms dealer.9 The law provides standard procedures for a law enforcement agency, firearms dealer, or court-approved third party to follow while receiving and keeping the respondent’s relinquished firearms.10

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an ERPO be lifted11 and for petitioners to request that the ERPO be renewed and extended by up to six months.12

Vermont makes it a crime to file a petition for an ERPO, or a supporting affidavit, knowing the information in the petition or affidavit is false, or with intent to harass the respondent.13

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4051, et seq. (enacted by 2017 VT S 221). ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4052. ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4053(c).

    An extreme risk of harm to others may be shown by establishing that:

    (i) the respondent has inflicted or attempted to inflict bodily harm on another; or

    (ii) by his or her threats or actions the respondent has placed others in reasonable fear of physical harm to themselves; or

    (iii) by his or her actions or inactions the respondent has presented a danger to persons in his or her care.

    An extreme risk of harm to himself or herself may be shown by establishing that the respondent has threatened or attempted suicide or serious bodily harm. Id. ⤴︎

  4. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4053(d). ⤴︎
  5. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4053(e). ⤴︎
  6. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054.  In such cases, the petitioner shall submit an affidavit in support of the motion providing specific facts supporting an allegation that the respondent poses an imminent and extreme risk of causing harm to self or others by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within his or her custody or control, and also identifying any dangerous weapons the petitioner believes to be in the respondent’s possession, custody, or control. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054(a)(2). ⤴︎
  7. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054(b). ⤴︎
  8. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054(d)(1). ⤴︎
  9. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4059(b). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4055(a), (c). ⤴︎
  12. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4055(b), (c). ⤴︎
  13. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4058(b)(2). ⤴︎

Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Washington

In 2016, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved of a law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family members– to petition a court to remove guns from a loved one in crisis.1 The law, called an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), allows family members, as well as law enforcement officers, to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual (including, as of 2019, a minor2) poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others. 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 must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement.3

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Rev. Code Wash. § 7.94.030 ⤴︎
  2. Any respondent under the age of eighteen may petition the court to have the court records sealed from public view. ⤴︎
  3. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 7.94.090. ⤴︎