Carbajal, Fitzpatrick, Deutch and Beyer Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Gun Violence

Lawmakers push bill to separate individuals threatening violence or suicide from firearms

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Washington, February 13, 2019 | comments

Tomorrow, one year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Reps. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Don Beyer (VA-08) will introduce the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. The bipartisan bill encourages states to allow family members or law enforcement officials to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from an individual in crisis.

Through establishing a new grant program, the bill would help ensure that law enforcement or family members can seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) or Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) from the courts, to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a gun. States that adopt these preventative measures would be eligible to receive federal funding under the grant program to help pay for the implementation and processing.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein will also introduce the companion Extreme Risk Protection Order Act in the Senate.

“I lost my older sister to suicide with a firearm at a young age,” said Rep. Carbajal. “What I’ve learned since is that temporarily preventing people from having a gun while in a state of crisis, and giving our law enforcement the right tools to address dangerous behaviors, saves lives. On the anniversary of the horrific shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, we are once again reminded that of our responsibility to act in Congress to help prevent the next mass shooting.”

“Giving family members and cohabitants the right to petition a court to have a firearm removed from someone found to be dangerous should not be controversial,” said Fitzpatrick. “This process protects Second Amendment rights by ensuring due-process rights are respected during the judicial process. We must work together and take steps to address gun violence and I’m proud to join Reps. Carbajal, Deutch, and Beyer to re-introduce this legislation.”

“As we’ve seen in Florida and other states, extreme risk protection orders work,” said Deutch. “This is an important live-saving tool to allow law enforcement officers to intervene before a dangerous person used their firearms against others. This is a sensible gun safety proposal with bipartisan support, and I hope we can move swiftly to pass it and help give every jurisdiction the tools needed to intervene and save lives.”

“One year ago, the country lost 17 students and teachers in Parkland to gun violence because multiple warning signs failed to prevent a mass shooting,” said Beyer. “The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act could have stopped this tragedy from happening and saved those lives. ERPOs give families and law enforcement a vital tool to stop those who pose a threat to themselves or others from having access to guns, and they are already saving many lives in the states that have adopted it. It is rare to have legislative solutions that could prevent disasters of the scope of Parkland or Virginia Tech, and rarer still to have bipartisan support for those measures. Both are the case for this bill. Congress should pass it with all possible haste.”

Background:

The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would encourage states to take the following steps to help prevent gun violence:

  • Enable families and law enforcement to go to court to seek an extreme risk protection order to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm;
  • Enable courts to issue a warrant that would allow law enforcement to take temporary possession of firearms that are in an individual’s possession if the court determines that the individual poses a threat to themselves or others; and
  • Ensure that law enforcement makes full use of all existing state and local gun databases when assessing a tip, warning, or request from a concerned family member or other close associate.

Currently, just 13 states have ERPO laws in place. The 2014 shooting in Isla Vista, CA, near the University of California, Santa Barbara, prompted the passage of an ERPO law in California that same year. Similarly, Florida passed ERPO legislation one month after the Parkland, FL shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Read the full bill text here.

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