|Posted:||February 21, 2018 11:49 AM|
|From:||Representative Todd Stephens|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Extreme Risk Protective Order|
|I believe it is time we provide a mechanism for loved ones, family members, and law enforcement to ask a Judge to temporarily prohibit individuals who demonstrate an extreme risk of causing harm to themselves or others from possessing firearms or ammunition in addition to any other relief necessary.
Other states have laws allowing a Court to temporarily remove someone’s firearms if they are an extreme risk and PA should too. Accordingly, I am introducing legislation to create an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO).
The ERPO would allow a Court to take the immediate precautions necessary to prevent the subject of the Order from doing harm only when provided with sufficient, clear and convincing evidence that the subject poses a danger.
If the Court determines an ERPO prohibiting an individual from possessing firearms is necessary, that information will be promptly submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police to bar them from purchasing firearms until the expiration of the order.
Under my bill, a Court could immediately issue a temporary ERPO but must conduct a full hearing in an expedited manner where the subject of the order may participate and offer evidence and testimony before a final order may be issued. Final orders may last only as long as necessary to ensure safety, but no longer than one year. The District Attorney shall litigate the case on behalf of the petitioner and the Public Defender shall represent the respondent at the hearing for a final order. The bill will also impose criminal penalties on any person who files a petition for an ERPO that contains false statements.
It is clear to me that we must give loved ones, family members, law enforcement and our Judges the tools they need to protect the public from individuals who pose an obvious risk of harm to themselves or to others. I hope you will join me in sponsoring this necessary and overdue legislation.
Introduced as HB2227