|Posted:||December 5, 2018 01:45 PM|
|From:||Senator Thomas H. Killion|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Extreme Risk Protection Orders|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will add Pennsylvania to the growing list of states that utilize Extreme Risk Protection Orders. This life-saving policy can help protect our communities from mass shootings, firearm suicides and other acts of gun violence.
An Extreme Risk Protection Order (“ERPO”) provides a mechanism for law enforcement and loved ones to request a Court order to temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms when they clearly present a danger to themselves and others. All requests for an ERPO must be based on the observations and safety concerns of local police officers, family members or other loved ones, all of whom are seeking the Court’s help with the goal of preventing firearm tragedies.
Under the legislation, an interim ERPO, which last no longer than 10 days, may be ordered by a Judge immediately if the evidence shows there is imminent risk of harm, but a final ERPO, which can last for no less than 3 months and no more than 1 year, may only be issued after a full hearing is conducted and at which all parties have an opportunity to present evidence and testimony. The threshold for a Judge to issue any ERPO is high, and evidence must be clear, convincing and compelling.
The issuance of an ERPO does not result in a criminal record, though there are criminal penalties for those who violate the Court’s order. The bill will also provide for criminal penalties for anyone who abuses the ERPO process by filing a false petition or giving false statements.
Gun violence in the United States has become a crisis, with 96 Americans dying every day from firearm-related incidents. In Pennsylvania, there are 1,500 firearm-related deaths per year. Just as tragically, 62% of Pennsylvania gun deaths are suicides. Allowing law enforcement and loved ones to petition the Courts for the temporary removal of firearms in dangerous situations will prevent gun deaths.
This legislation will be similar to HB 2227, prime-sponsored by Representative Todd Stevens, during the 2017-2018 Legislative Session.
Extreme Risk Protection Orders will save lives. I respectfully ask you to join me in co-sponsoring this much-needed legislation.
Introduced as SB90