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Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO)

It’s about saving lives..

Download our brochure on how to use the ERPO law

 

A new law that goes into effect January 1, 2020 will allow family members (households) and/or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms  from someone found to be dangerous to themselves or others.  This law has the potential to save people at risk of gun suicide, as well as reduce homicides.

About ERPO

An Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is a civil court order issued by a judge that temporarily prohibits a person in crisis from possessing or purchasing firearms. ERPOs provide families and law enforcement officers with a formal legal process to temporarily remove an individual’s firearms and reduce any further access to firearms if they pose a danger to themselves or others. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

How does an ERPO help people in crisis stay safe?

An ERPO requires temporary removal of guns from the subject of the order and prohibits new purchases for the duration of the order.  This creates safer circumstances for the individual to seek treatment, stabilize their behavior, or access resources to address the underlying causes of their dangerous behaviors.  A temporary ERPO can last up to 14 days, while a continuing ERPO is one-year (and can be renewed beyond that) after a court hearing is held.

Who Can Petition For An ERPO?

Households –  Petitioning for an ERPO can be an important first step to reduce the risk of harm by a loved one if he/she is experiencing a crisis and  there is a strong likelihood that a loved one would harm themselves or others. Households include:

  • people related by blood, marriage, or who share a child in common
  • people who have resided with the respondent in the last 6 months
  • domestic partners
  • step-parents
  • step-children
  • grandparents
  • grandchildren
  • legal guardians
  • past or present unmarried couples.

You may also contact your local sheriff or police department to inform them of an unsafe situation.

Law Enforcement – Obtaining an ERPO can be a proactive way to prevent violence and protect yourself and your fellow officers if someone is demonstrating signs of being dangerous, such as suicidal thoughts, aggression, public threats of violence, or other unsafe behavior with firearms.  As a law enforcement officer, you can obtain a temporary ERPO or a one-year ERPO that can be renewed.

What Is A Temporary ERPO?

A temporary ERPO is a type of protection order available to law enforcement and family members, which may be obtained with the approval of the judge within one court day after it was filed.

  • A hearing for a temporary order will be held on an “ex-parte” basis (without notice to the respondent) within one court day of the filing of the petition.
  • If the judge finds cause to believe the respondent poses significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having access to a firearm, the judge shall issue a temporary order.

How to Obtain an ERPO

  • STEP 1:
  • STEP 2:
  • STEP 3:
  • STEP 4:

Request a petition from your local District or County Court or download the form online at:  www.courts.state.co.us  (click on self-help/forms)

Complete and submit the petition to a District or County Court in the county where the respondent (the person to be served with the ERPO) lives.  There is no fee to file a petition.

If you file for a temporary ERPO, the court will hold a hearing on the petition within the next court day.  The respondent will not be notified. The petitioner must attend in person or by phone depending on the circumstances.  Within 14 days of the issuance of the temporary ERPO, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the ERPO should be continued for a full year. The respondent will be notified of that subsequent hearing.

If the court issues an ERPO, the order requires the respondent to immediately surrender any firearms in the respondent’s custody or possession. Local law enforcement will serve the order together with any order for a future hearing.

As A Professional Who May Interact With Someone In Danger, How Can I Get Involved?

  • Attorneys – While only law enforcement and family/household members may petition for an ERPO directly, as an attorney, you have an opportunity to advise or assist a client in obtaining an ERPO.
  • Eldercare – As a caregiver, home visitor, or other elder care worker, you have an opportunity to advise a client or client’s family if a client’s gun ownership has become unsafe.
  • Faith-Based – You may have an opportunity to connect with a fellow community member or congregation member if they are in crisis, or if someone in their family or household is in crisis or behaving violently.
  • Fiduciaries – You have an opportunity to inform a client’s family or law enforcement if a client’s gun ownership has become unsafe. Doing so can help prevent gun violence.
  • Health Care Professionals – Talking to patients about safe gun ownership and storage is a potentially life-saving action that can keep patients safe.
  • Mental Health Professionals – As a mental health professional you have an opportunity to talk to a patient, patient’s family, or law enforcement if a patient’s firearm ownership has become unsafe.
  • Public Health Professionals – If you are concerned that someone’s firearm ownership may become violent or dangerous in the immediate future you may be able to go directly to law enforcement and they may obtain an ERPO if they deem it necessary to do so.
  • Veterans – As someone working with veterans, you have an opportunity to help educate veterans and families about the life-saving potential of the ERPO when someone’s gun ownership has become unsafe.

Interested in learning more about ERPO or having one of our members speak to your organization or members of your community? Contact us at info@coloradoceasefire.org.