WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to prevent mass-shootings and suicides, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is teaming up with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) to introduce The Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act. This bipartisan legislation would help keep guns out of the hands of individuals that a court deems dangerous to themselves or others. The so-called ‘Red Flag’ bill incentivizes states to allow law enforcement, family members, or guardians to petition a court to remove a gun from a dangerous individual, while still providing due process protections.
Florida recently passed a Red Flag law and Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed an executive order in February immediately establishing the policy while lawmakers in the State House move forward with a comprehensive Red Flag legislative proposal. Nationwide, more than 20 states currently have or are considering passing risk-based Red Flag gun violence prevention laws.
“I think, among the things that we could do after Parkland, one of the most effective is a gun violence restraining order” said Senator Rubio. “Basically the police or a family member who thinks someone is dangerous can go to court. They can get a court order, and they can take that person’s guns away and keep them from buying new ones. Florida has already passed it. Five other states are already passing it. And now we’re putting out there a law to try to get all the other states in the country to do the same thing, so you can find these people and you can take away their guns before they kill anybody.”
“We must do all we can to keep our communities safe, which includes empowering law enforcement and family members concerned about loved ones to act and help keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others,” said Senator Nelson. “I hope we can continue to work together on commonsense solutions, such as requiring universal background checks and getting assault rifles off our streets.”
“This bill can help prevent tragedies like mass-shootings and suicides. This bill would provide family members and law enforcement with an opportunity to partner up to keep guns away from people who have exhibited serious, documented signs of danger to themselves or others,” said Senator Reed. “Red and blue states alike have been out front on this issue, with state legislatures adopting, or taking steps to adopt, so-called ‘Red Flag’ laws. Our bipartisan initiative builds on these state solutions that already exist in states like Florida, or are being developed in states like Rhode Island, and provides incentives to effectively run these important programs. It doesn’t force states to act, but rewards and supports states that do. We must come together and do more to prevent gun violence, and passing this bipartisan bill is a step in the right direction.”
The Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act:
- Creates an Extreme Risk Protection Order Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Makes states enacting qualifying laws eligible for funding to help implement such laws, as well as priority consideration for Bureau of Justice Assistance discretionary grants.
- Requires that a qualifying state law be in compliance with the minimum requirements described in the act, including: Providing a process where a law enforcement officer or family member of an individual can petition for – and after notice and hearing a court can grant – an Extreme Risk Protection Order if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that such individual poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm.
- The duration of such order may not exceed 12 months but may be renewed upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence it remains warranted.
- Respondent has the right to request a hearing to vacate an order or renewal.
- Providing a process where a Temporary Ex Parte Extreme Risk Protection Order can be issued if a court finds probable cause to believe that an individual poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others in the near future by possessing or purchasing a firearm.
- Establishing a felony criminal offense for knowingly making a false statement relating to an Extreme Risk Protection Order regarding a material matter.
- Requiring clear processes and instructions for the surrender of a respondent’s firearms should an Extreme Risk Protection Order be issued, as well as clear processes and instructions for the swift return of such firearms upon expiration or successful motion to vacate an order.
- Requiring that an issuance of an Extreme Risk Protection Order be reported to the appropriate federal, state, and tribal databases.