“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

– Theodore Levitt, American Economist and Professor at Harvard Business School

Drafting, Passing, and Implementing Extreme Risk Laws

CSGV has been instrumental in developing, drafting, passing, and enacting extreme risk laws like the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) in states across the nation.

The ERPO allows family members and/or law enforcement officials to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis. The policy, which is based on behavioral risk factors for dangerousness rather than a mental health diagnosis, gives loved ones the tools to protect individuals in crisis. Concerned relatives can get help for a family member they know to be suicidal, a loved one who is having thoughts of harming others, or a family member whose erratic behavior, violence, and co-occurring substance abuse suggest additional violence is imminent.

After the tragic shooting in Isla Vista, California in May 2014, CSGV took the lead in drafting and lobbying for the first-of-its-kind GVRO in California. The legislation passed the California Assembly and Senate and was signed into law on September 30, 2014 by Governor Brown.

Since then, CSGV has provided technical assistance to policymakers and advocacy groups working to enact ERPO-style laws in additional states.

On November 8, 2016, voters in Washington state adopted ERPO; the measure passed with 71 percent of the vote, indicating bipartisan support for the policy. In July 2017, ERPO also passed in Oregon with bipartisan support.

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida the policy has gained in popularity. In 2018, extreme risk laws have passed in Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Illinois. In 2019, New York, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia joined that list. They have also been introduced in over 26 other states.

The bipartisan popularity of these laws validates our ongoing successful implementation of the GVRO in California and confirms that ERPO-style policies are a plausible goal in all 50 states.


Ballistic identification is the science of using a ballistic fingerprint to identify the specific firearm used in a shooting. A comprehensive ballistic identification system would connect a bullet or cartridge case recovered at a crime scene directly to the make, model and serial number of the gun from which it was fired.

A technology called “microstamping” has made comprehensive ballistic identification a reality. Microstamping technology utilizes lasers to make microscopic engravings on the breech face and firing pin of a gun. As the gun is fired, a code identifying the weapon’s serial number is stamped onto the cartridge. This enables police to trace a gun without ever physically recovering it. A traced firearm is a valuable lead in a criminal investigation, because investigators can then connect that weapon to its first purchaser, who may become either a suspect or a source of information helpful to the investigation.

On October 13, 2007, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made history by signing a first-of-its-kind microstamping bill into law.  The District of Columbia enacted a similar microstamping law in January 2009. The technology promises to revolutionize the way law enforcement officials investigate homicides and other gun crimes.

CSGV Executive Director Josh Horwitz played a major role in developing the microstamping policy in California. Josh continues to educate key stakeholder and facilitate communication between policymakers and technology experts at key decision points.

The gun lobby has strongly resisted each step in developing and implementing the microstamping policy, but CSGV is committed to advancing and defending this innovative law.


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