Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. EDT
Julia Friedmann, West End Strategy Team
TOMORROW: Expert Briefing
Best Practices for Extreme Risk Protection Orders; How They Differ From Court-Ordered Mental Health Treatment
In light of Indiana mass shooting, public health, legal, congressional and law enforcement voices to discuss how extreme risk protection order laws can save lives when designed well and properly implemented.
WASHINGTON – In the aftermath of a shooter outside Indianapolis killing eight people, extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws across the country are being analyzed for the lifesaving value they can provide in preventing individuals at elevated risk of violence from acquiring firearms. In the case of this particular perpetrator, law enforcement had previously removed a gun from his possession due to mental health concerns raised by family members, but Indiana’s extreme risk law was not invoked to prevent the future acquisition of new guns.
To contextualize extreme risk laws (sometimes referred to as “red flag laws”) and their potential to prevent firearm homicide and suicide, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV), an affiliate organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, will host an online media briefing on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
Extreme risk orders empower law enforcement and, depending on the jurisdiction, family members, health professionals, and school administrators, among others, to work with courts to temporarily remove firearms from those who pose an elevated risk of danger to themselves or others. Developed by the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, convened by EFSGV in 2013 after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, modern extreme risk laws establish a civil process that puts time and space between an at-risk individual and firearms. Extreme risk laws have the power to prevent suicides, mass shootings, and interpersonal violence.
The briefing will be moderated by Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy.
Panelists will include:
- Richard Bonnie, LLB is a legal and public health law scholar and member of the EFSGV-affiliated Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy. He is the Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law, director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, and professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia. He is an expert on psychiatric holds that prevent individuals at risk of harming themselves or others from obtaining firearms. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and is an advisor to the American Psychiatric Association.
- U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal (Calif.-24) will be re-introducing the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which would establish a grant program to incentivize states and Indian tribes to implement ERPOs. He lost his sister to gun suicide.
- Jeffrey Swanson, PhD is a member of the EFSGV-affiliated Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy. He is professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. He is a faculty affiliate of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law School, the Center for Firearms Law at Duke Law School, and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke Sanford School of Public Policy. Swanson led the research group that published the first empirical evaluations of risk-based, temporary firearm removal laws in Indiana and Connecticut, precursors to modern extreme risk protection order laws.
- Kimberly Wyatt is senior deputy prosecuting attorney for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) regional domestic violence firearms enforcement unit in Washington state. Kim works extensively on ERPO cases, and testified to the effectiveness of ERPO orders in upholding public safety and preventing gun violence before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in May 2019.
The EFSGV and CSGV celebrated President Biden’s recent executive orders that included a requirement that the Justice Department create a model ERPO.
The Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy recently released a detailed report providing an updated set of recommendations to improve and enhance the effectiveness of ERPOs nationwide. Since 2013, 19 states and the District of Columbia have implemented the laws. Supplemental report materials include a fact sheet, executive summary and complete recommendations. The Educational Fund to Stop Gun VIolence encourages states to center equity in the implementation of ERPO laws and provides guidance toward more racially equitable extreme risk laws.