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Extreme Risk Protection Order Laws Work

Washington—A study released this week by the University of California’s Violence Prevention Research Program finds that extreme risk prevention order laws, which allow temporary court orders to remove guns from dangerous individuals, are effective in preventing mass shootings.

            The study, titled “Extreme Risk Protection Orders Intended to Prevent Mass Shootings: A Case Series,” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

            The authors conclude: “Urgent, individualized interventions to reduce firearm access provide a rapid, sharply focused response when risk for imminent firearm violence is high and alternative measures, such as arrest or psychiatric hospitalization, are inappropriate or have been ineffective.”

            Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, a bill that provides grants to states so they can establish their own extreme risk prevention order laws. More information about that bill is available here.

            “Extreme risk prevention orders work,” Senator Feinstein said. “We know they work in San Diego, where the city attorney has obtained hundreds of orders in less than two years to remove guns from 175 dangerous individuals. And we know these laws are constitutional: they’re based on domestic violence protection orders, which have repeatedly stood up to challenge in federal courts.

            “Only 17 states and D.C. currently have such laws, and I’m hopeful the Senate will take up my bill that will provide grants to the other 33 states to set up such laws as soon as possible. Keeping guns away from dangerous individuals while upholding their due process rights is vital, and this law would help accomplish that.”

            In a Washington Post article, Duke University professor Jeffrey Swanson said, “Here are some real cases of real people that made a real threat, and they were identified through the process of this gun violence restraining order.”

            In the same article, Adelyn Allchin with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said: “It’s really promising to see these results come out. I think there’s some good evidence here that these laws are preventing acts of mass violence.”