SUPPORT EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDERS (ERPOS).
PA SB-90 Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs).
PA State Senator Tom Killion (R - SD-9) has introduced SB 90, a ‘red flag’ or ‘ERPO’ bill. An Extreme Risk Protection Order (“ERPO”) provides a mechanism for law enforcement and loved ones to request a Court order to temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms when they clearly present a danger to themselves and others. All requests for an ERPO must be based on the observations and safety concerns of local police officers, family members or other loved ones, all of whom are seeking the Court’s help with the goal of preventing firearm tragedies.
The ACTION: Call or visit your state Senator’s office and express your support for SB-90.
Read the bill here. Check whether your state senator is a co-sponsor.
Read more here about ERPOs.
Find your Pennsylvania state legislators here.
Sample call script
Hi, my name is [name ]. I am a constituent of Senator [name] and my zipcode is [ zip ]. I am calling today to ask Senator [name] to co-sponsor SB-90, Senator Killion’s extreme risk protection order bill and begin to make our communities safer from gun violence. Eighty-nine percent of Americans favor a red flag law that lets family members or law enforcement ask a court to temporarily suspend a person’s access to guns when there are clear warning signs they pose a danger to themselves or others. That support includes 86% of Republicans, 84% of gun owning households, 86% of voters who supported President Trump in 2016 and 85% of self identified conservatives. *If you are a member of one of the three TOL congregations or the Squirrel Hill community, or if you have personally been impacted by gun violence, tell your story*. Will Senator [name] cosponsor this bill? I will be watching for their co-sponsorship. Thank you.
Even if your Senator is a co-sponsor it is still extremely important to call them and thank them. Remember, they are getting calls from groups which oppose any sensible gun legislation.
Bonus Action: If you senator is a co-sponsor, tweet your thanks or post them on his Facebook page.
In at least half of mass shootings between 2009 and 2017, the shooter exhibited dangerous warning behavior prior to the shooting (1).
Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs or Red Flag laws) empower those who recognize these warning signs to intervene, allowing close family members and law enforcement to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order that temporarily restricts a person’s access to guns if there is evidence they are a risk to themselves or others. Red Flag laws are a critical tool to protect our children and communities from gun violence, including gun suicides and mass shootings. Red Flag laws are overwhelmingly supported by Americans on both sides of the aisle (2).
ERPOs also protect gun owners. Currently in Pennsylvania, the only way to remove a firearm from a person who poses an immediate danger to himself or others is through involuntary commitment. This process is (rightfully) difficult but also stigmatizing. A person who has been involuntarily committed in PA loses their right to purchase firearms for life. The issuance of an ERPO does not result in a criminal record. A final ERPO, which can last for no less than 3 months and no more than 1 year, may only be issued after a full hearing is conducted and at which all parties have an opportunity to present evidence and testimony. The threshold for a Judge to issue any ERPO is high, and evidence must be clear, convincing and compelling.The bill will also provide for criminal penalties for anyone who abuses the ERPO process by filing a false petition or giving false statements (3). Once the ERPO expires, the gun owner’s weapons are returned to him and he has the same rights to purchase firearms he had before the ERPO was issued. No mental health diagnosis is necessary, making the ERPO less stigmatizing than involuntary commitment and avoiding HIPAA privacy concerns.