Washington, D.C., June 8, 2021 - Brady applauds the U.S. Department of Justice for publishing model Extreme Risk Law legislation to aid states and localities in enacting these life-saving law enforcement tools. Extreme Risk Laws are proven to help reduce gun violence, particularly firearm suicide which constitutes the highest percentage of gun deaths each year. This latest action is another example of the Biden Administration’s comprehensive and public health approach to ending this epidemic.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“In publishing extreme risk law legislative guidance, the DOJ and President Biden have shown that they understand the myriad causes of gun violence. Extreme risk laws are among the most effective policies in preventing gun violence before it takes place and do so by respecting the rights of all Americans and due process. These are needed and common-sense tools for law enforcement and families can work with courts to ensure that individuals who are an increased risk to themselves or others are temporarily dispossessed of their firearms to stop them from committing tragic acts of violence. These laws are part of the public health approach to combating gun violence that President Biden has continuously championed, as they are commonly used in incidents where there is a concern an individual is at risk of self-harm or suicide. As suicide by gun is the most lethal form of suicide and makes up the largest poriton of gun deaths in the United States, and particularly affecting white men who comprise 85 percent of suicide by gun victims, this is a needed and common-sense policy. A study into Connecticut's extreme risk law showed that for every 10-20 orders issued, at least one suicide was prevented. These policies save lives, have been supported and signed by Democrats and Republicans alike and should be law in all 50 states.

These are common-sense actions and Brady thanks President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland for so clearly and consistently championing gun violence prevention.”

About Extreme Risk Laws:

Extreme risk laws allow a family member, law enforcement, or other key individuals, as allowed by each state, to present evidence to a civil court judge that an individual is a risk to themselves or others. Such orders allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from an individual and prohibit the purchase of new firearms. The behavioral risk factors that are typically considered by a judge in an extreme risk law case include:

  • Patterns or recent threats and acts of violence

  • Dangerous past behavior with guns

  • Substance abuse

  • Recent firearms or ammunition acquisition

A judge may consider these and other factors when considering whether or not to intervene. The at-risk individual is allowed an opportunity to be heard and present other evidence before the judge in a civil — not criminal — court hearing.

If the judge finds that the evidence warrants temporarily removing guns from the individual, then the judge issues an order known as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO). An ERPO prevents the person in crisis from purchasing a gun and allows law enforcement to temporarily hold any guns already owned for safekeeping.

At a subsequent hearing, the extreme risk order can be extended if there is additional evidence that the person in crisis continues to be a threat to themselves or others. The individual can again present evidence in their defense.

Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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