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
· 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
· Requires that a
qualifying state law be in compliance with the minimum requirements described
in the act, including:
o 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
Respondent has the right to request a hearing
to vacate an order or renewal.
o 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. o Establishing a felony criminal offense
for knowingly making a false statement relating to an Extreme Risk Protection
Order regarding a material matter.
o 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. o Requiring that an issuance of an Extreme Risk Protection Order be
reported to the appropriate federal, state, and tribal databases.