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Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Coming to a State House Near You

Source: The Trace & Giffords Law Center. April 13, 2018

It has been a very busy two months for gun violence prevention champions across the country. In addition to coordinating walkouts, marches, town halls, and new activist trainings, many of our affiliates are racing the clock to pass life-saving legislation before regular legislative sessions end.

Since the February 14, 2018 tragedy at Parkland, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been under immense public pressure to pass measures to prevent mass shootings and help students feel safe at school. In statehouses around the country, there is growing bipartisan consensus that Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) can save lives by giving law enforcement and family members a vital tool to prevent tragedies before a shot is ever fired.

In many cases of gun violence, such as mass shootings and suicide, the shooter exhibits warning signs before a tragedy occurs. For example, the Parkland gunman was long known to law enforcement as troubled and a threat, but law enforcement was powerless to intervene. ERPO laws, also known as Gun Violence Restraining Orders or “red flag laws,” allow family members and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence that an individual poses a serious threat of violence to themselves or others. Family members and law enforcement are often in the best position to recognize the warning signs of violence and creating an ERPO will provide a tool to prevent a tragedy before it’s too late.

Five states had ERPO laws prior to this year: California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington. Red flag bills have been introduced in 28 states this legislative session and have received a warm reception by Republicans and Democrats alike. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a red flag bill on March 9, 2018, and Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed an ERPO bill into law on April 11, 2018.

In the final days of the legislative session, States United affiliate Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence passed an ERPO bill in addition to a bump stock ban, oversight of the Handgun Permit Review Board, and funding for gun violence prevention programs. It should come as no surprise that the leaders of the Maryland group, Jen Pauliukonis and Liz Banach, were named “Winners of the 2018 General Assembly.”

Our Massachusetts affiliate Stop Handgun Violence just cleared an important hurdle on April 13, 2018 when an ERPO bill received unanimous support from the Joint Committee on Public Safety. Want to know the status of ‘red flag’ laws across the country? The Trace has got you covered.

Finally, have you seen our new resource featuring quotes from conservative voices supporting ERPO laws? Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, and even the NRA’s Chris Cox are on the record supporting this targeted and effective tool for law enforcement to keep our communities safe.

 

Upcoming Michigan Events

MCPGV

Today, July 20, marks five years since the horrific shooting at Aurora. Five years since twelve were killed and 70 more wounded at a movie theater. Five years in which we have suffered countless shootings at schools, churches, community centers, night clubs, homes, businesses and on our streets. Five years in which Congress — and the state legislature in Lansing — have failed to act to make our communities safer.

The victims and survivors of Aurora deserve better and more. They deserve action. They deserve voices raised in protest against the silence and inaction of our leaders.

Every day that passes with another 92 lives lost to gun violence, every year that we add solemn, horrific anniversaries to the calendar, should be to our shame.

MCPGV is fortunate to have Sandy Anglin Phillips and Lonnie Phillips with us in Michigan this month. Please join Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence at one of the following events to meet them, hear their story and learn how you might honor with action those who died at Aurora and all victim/survivors of gun violence.

July 23LansingFellowship for Today, 611 Kalamazoo, 5:30pm

July 24KalamazooCoalition for Common Ground, 315 S. Rose, KPL, 5:30pm

July 25Ann ArborAnn Arbor Orthodox Minyan, Beth Israel Congregation, Jewish Community Center Ann Arbor, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, MomsRising, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, Temple Beth Emeth, Everytown/Moms Demand Action, Jewish Cultural Society, Temple Beth Israel, 2309 Packard Rd, 7pm

July 28East LansingMCPGV, 235 Maplewood, 6pm

With you, we are working every day to honor them with action, to demand more in their names and in their memories. We ask you to remember and to pledge to demand more and to do more.

Thank you,

Linda Brundage, Ed.D.
Executive Director, Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

Moving Forward on Gun Violence Prevention in New Mexico

New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence Logo
Dear Friend,

The beginning of the summer saw a tragic number of gun deaths including a mass shooting at a congressional ballgame, another at a UPS Center and a shooting spree that killed five in Northern New Mexico. These senseless acts of violence are, yet again, a grave reminder that our country is at a crisis point when it comes to gun violence. While we implore both our local and federal elected officials to have the courage it takes to pass sensible gun violence prevention legislation, we at NMPGV are working every day to stop gun violence in our state.

It has been a busy spring and early summer for New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

GUNS TO GARDENS

We held our third Guns To Gardens Gun Buyback in Taos, New Mexico in May. It was a huge success.   We brought in 48 firearms including two assault weapons, a sawed off shotgun and many semi-automatic handguns. Sheriff Hogrefe and the Taos Sheriff’s Department were a great help and made the buyback run smoothly. We plan to hold another in New Mexico this summer.

Photo of guns brought in by the Guns To Gardens Taos Gun Buyback


Dismantling guns for gardening tools by RAWtools and art by Santa Fe Community College Student Artists

MURALS TO END GUN VIOLENCE

In June, we continued our Murals To End Gun Violence program at Pojoaque Valley High School with their talented art students. They designed and executed a beautiful gun violence prevention mural on the walls of their school. Warren Montoya from Rezonate Art taught the students how to execute the mural using a grid technique. The students gave impassioned speeches in front of a group of incoming middle school students.  The young artists spoke about why they participated in the mural as well as of the importance of kindness the need to take care of each other and not be bullies.

Students at Pojoaque Valley High working on gun violence prevention mural with Warren Montoya from Rezonate Art

Students at Pojoaque Valley High working on gun violence prevention mural

THANK YOU LUSH COSMETICS!

New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence received a generous grant from Lush Cosmetics to do three more gun violence prevention murals. We are planning our next mural in August in Albuquerque. The foster children New Mexico Can will create our next mural.

Lush Cosmetics also generously gave us over 300 Bath Bombs to give to our hard working volunteers for all the work they do on the issue of gun violence prevention.

FUTURE PROGRAMS:

In the next few months New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence will unveil two new programs that we believe will help reduce gun violence in New Mexico. We will keep you posted.

As you know, we are all volunteers and all of our services that we provide the community are free. Our organization depends on your kind donations.

The Board of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence

SB 719 passes and moves to Governor Brown’s desk for her signature

Ceasefire Oregon
Dear Friend,

Congratulations! You did it! SB 719, the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, just passed the Oregon House. Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill.

Your phone calls, emails, and meetings supporting SB 719, the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill worked!

Oregonians now have an important tool to help reduce suicide, domestic violence, and shootings. The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bill will enable families and law enforcement to prevent tragedies by petitioning a court to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms and other dangerous weapons.

People who are thinking of killing themselves or harming others often often show signs or declare their intentions well before committing the act. The first people to see those signs are often family members. An ERPO gives families and law enforcement a chance to intervene and perhaps prevent a tragedy. In Oregon, where suicide is 85% of all gunshot deaths, temporarily removing access to guns is especially important to prevent suicide.

In November 2016, Washington state voters passed Initiative 14911 (an ERPO law) by a 40 point margin (70% to 30%). Indiana and Connecticut2 also have versions of ERPO. In 2014, California passed AB 1014,3 called a Gun Violence Restraining Order, in response to a killing rampage earlier that year in Isla Vista.

Since Connecticut enacted their ERPO bill in 1999, police have issued 762 orders, which helped save dozens of lives.4

Once an ERPO has been filed, a court must find clear and convincing evidence that an individual is threatening harm to self or others, before the court can order the respondent to temporarily surrender any guns to the police. The respondent will not be able to buy, sell, or possess other firearms for a temporary period of time.

SB 719 will protect gun owners from false applications of ERPO and provide due process. False applications of ERPO or violation of ERPO are punishable by one year’s imprisonment, $6,250 fine or both. The bill establishes procedures for the respondent to request a hearing. The burden of proof is on the petitioner to show clear and convincing evidence.

Passing this bill is the culmination of work by many gun violence prevention advocates including the family of Laura Magee, Melissa Keyser, Central Coast Ceasefire Oregon, Ceasefire Oregon, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety, Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, League of Women Voters of Oregon, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oregon Brady Campaign, Ecumenical Ministries, Pastor Mark Knutson, Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, Rev. Chuck Currie, Moms Demand Action, and Everytown for Gun Safety.

But here’s the crucial truth: this bill would not have passed without the support of gun violence prevention advocates like YOU. 

Thank you and congratulations!

Penny, Joanne, and the entire Ceasefire Oregon Team!


  1. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/extreme-risk-protection-order-initiative-1491/

  2. https://www.thetrace.org/2016/09/gun-violence-restraining-order-suicide-reduction-connecticut/

  3. http://smartgunlaws.org/californias-new-gun-violence-restraining-order-law/

  4. Swanson, Jeffrey W. and Norko, Michael and Lin, Hsiu-Ju and Alanis-Hirsch, Kelly and Frisman, Linda and Baranoski, Madelon and Easter, Michele and Gilbert, Allison and Swartz, Marvin and Bonnie, Richard J., Implementation and Effectiveness of Connecticut’s Risk-Based Gun Removal Law: Does it Prevent Suicides? (August 24, 2016). Law and Contemporary Problems, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2828847

SB 719, ERPO, scheduled for House vote July 6!

Ceasefire Oregon
Dear Friend,

Good news! SB 719, Extreme Risk Protection Order is scheduled for a House Floor vote tomorrow, July 6!

say that you support SB 719 and SB 1065

Although SB 1065 has had procedural problems, we still hope the key aspects of this bill can be passed but we are running out of time.

Both bills are critical to reducing gun violence in Oregon, especially in preventing suicide and domestic violence. Saving lives often depends on keeping guns out of the hands of those who would harm themselves or others. SB 719 and SB 1065 will give Oregonians the tools we need to do just that.

Oregonians cannot wait another year to protect our loved ones who might be suicidal and who are suffering from domestic violence. Please call today.

Thank you for your great work to reduce gun violence.

Best wishes for a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Penny, Joanne, and the entire Ceasefire Oregon Team

Freedom From Gun Violence

ProtectMN.org
Dear Friend,

As I sit home listening to fireworks going on outside, it occurs to me that in many neighborhoods in America, it would be gun shots I’d be hearing. As our nation celebrates freedom and independence, the sad reality is that we are not free from fear of gun violence, because our government is not independent from the gun lobby’s control.

There have been so many grievous shootings lately, nationally and here at home, that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Instead of spending all our time reacting to each incident, the leadership of Protect Minnesota has decided to keep working proactively, towards our ultimate goals of passing sensible gun laws and preventing similar incidents of gun violence in the future. We invite you to help by participating in two events that will be critical to achieving these goals.

1) Paint It ORANGE! Kick-off Celebration, from 6:00-8:00pm on Thursday, July 13, at the International Institute of Minnesota in St. Paul. This event will raise essential funds for our expansion into Greater Minnesota. With four dangerous gun bills coming back at us next legislative session–and the threat of a Permitless Carry Constitutional Amendment on the ballot in 2018–it’s vital that we identify, organize and mobilize gun violence advocates in rural Minnesota NOW. Tickets are only $25. Click HERE for more information about this fun event and buy your tickets TODAY.

2) Northstar Public Health Conference on Gun Violence, September 13-14, 2017, in Minneapolis. After months of planning, I am so excited to be able to announce that registrations are now open for this important event. Hosted by Protect Minnesota, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, the Minnesota Public Health Association, and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, the Northstar Conference will:

  • provide a forum for local, regional and national leaders in gun violence prevention to exchange knowledge, insights and experiences;
  • highlight and provide a catalyst for new gun violence prevention research;
  • provide professionals from across the state with pertinent knowledge and usable tools to implement in their individual work, organizations, and communities;
  • raise awareness among Minnesota media and the general population that gun violence is a public health problem for which solutions do exist; and,
  • provide practical training for gun violence prevention activists as part of an evening Advocacy Seminar.

Click HERE for more information about the Northstar Conference. I urge you to take advantage of early bird pricing by registering soon. And please pass this information on to like-minded friends.

Let’s keep fighting for freedom from gun violence. Let’s re-dedicate ourselves to achieving our goals, no matter how difficult that may be. And let’s PROTECT MINNESOTA!

Peace,

Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, Executive Director

Ohio House to Vote on Guns Everywhere Bill

Preserve Gun-Free Zones

The corporate gun lobby wants to allowing hidden, loaded handguns into our weapons-free zones with NO penalty! Contact your Ohio House Member and urge them to vote NO on HB 233.

Take Action

Dear Friend,

The House Federalism and Interstate Relations committee just passed HB 233, the “Get Out of Jail Free” Guns Everywhere bill, that would violate the rights of Ohio property owners by removing the penalty for concealed carry licensees that violate weapons-free zones.

In fact, under HB 233, licensees would face no penalty for intentionally entering a weapons-free zone with a hidden, loaded weapon, so long as they leave if they are caught.

The good news is that your voices are making a difference and Permitless Carry (HB 201) and the Surprise Gun Bill (HB 142) have stalled in the committee for now.

HB 233 could go to a floor vote as early as Thursday of this week. It’s incredibly important that you contact your Ohio House member now and urge them to vote NO against this bill.

Protect the school safety zones, government buildings, places of worship, institutes of higher education, day care centers, as well as businesses and workplaces that have made the decision to remain weapon free. Click here to make an impact now.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Thorne, Executive Director
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence