Trendwatch: States Moving Quickly to Pass Lifesaving Extreme Risk Laws

Youth March Against Gun Violence
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Extreme risk protection orders continue to be a top priority in 2019. Our latest edition of Gun Law Trendwatch breaks down what you need to know.

When individuals show signs of becoming a danger to themselves or others, law enforcement and the people closest to them are often powerless to intervene.

Extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws save lives by enabling law enforcement, family members, or others to temporarily disarm a person in crisis. Studies of ERPOs in Connecticut and Indiana have demonstrated that these laws are particularly effective at reducing gun suicides, which make up two-thirds of American gun deaths.

ERPOs have already been used to disarm would-be mass shooters, such as a student in Vermont who kept a “journal of an active shooter.”

Just last week, New York became the first state to enact an ERPO in 2019, bringing the total number of states with these laws to 14. Several other states are moving quickly to follow suit:

  • New Mexico advanced HB 83 through the house.
  • A Colorado ERPO, HB 1177, passed the house on March 4.
  • Hawaii SB 1466 passed two committees.
  • A California bill (AB 61) to allow school personnel, co-workers, and employers to petition for an ERPO (known as a Gun Violence Restraining Order) is pending.

ERPO bills have been introduced in 21 additional states. Congressional lawmakers are taking action too: Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to authorize grants to states that enact ERPO legislation.

Given that we’re only two months into 2019, the rapid movement of these bills is proof that legislators are finally listening to the will of the American people and taking action to save lives from gun violence.

You can read the full roundup here, or take a look below for a summary of where gun safety legislation stands in states around the country today.

Gun Violence Prevention Bills

At least 27 states currently have legislation pending to strengthen or enact background checks.

  • Washington HB 1465 passed a committee.
  • Illinois HB 888 has a hearing March 5.
  • Minnesota HB 8 passed the house.
  • Maryland SB 737 had a hearing February 27.
  • New Mexico SB 8 passed two house committees.

At least 23 states have bills pending that would close domestic violence loopholes that allow abusers to access guns.

  • Washington HB 1786 and HB 1517 each passed a committee.
  • Ohio SB 43 passed a committee.
  • Utah HB 332 has a hearing on March 5.
  • Illinois HB 887 has a hearing on March 5.

Extreme risk protection order bills are pending in at least 26 states.

  • New York SB 2451/AB 2689 was signed into law on February 25.
  • California AB 165, Ohio SB 19, Washington SB 5745, and Minnesota HB 9 all passed committees.
  • New Hampshire HB 687 has a hearing scheduled for March 5.
  • Colorado HB 1177 passed the house on March 4.

10 states have bills pending to allocate or protect funding for community-based urban gun violence reduction strategies.

  • Minnesota SB 464 passed a committee.
  • Illinois HB 2070 has a hearing March 5.

Dangerous Gun Lobby Bills

Dangerous bills to allow guns in school or on campus are pending in at least 27 states.

  • Virginia HB 1656 was enacted February 21.
  • North Dakota HB 1332 passed the house.
  • Montana HB 325, HB 357, and HB 567 passed the house.
  • West Virginia HB 2519 passed the house.
  • Arizona HB 2693 passed two committees.
  • New Mexico HB 129 passed the house.
  • Florida SB 598, Oklahoma HB 2336, and Washington SB 5150 passed committees.
  • Missouri HB 575 has a hearing March 4.
  • Maryland SB 884 has a hearing March 12.

Reckless permitless carry bills are pending in at least 13 states.

  • Oklahoma HB 2597 was enacted on February 27.
  • Kentucky SB 150 passed both chambers.

If the first two months of 2019 are any indication, this year is poised to be a critical one for gun safety. The American people are calling for policy change over thoughts and prayers—legislators at the state and federal level should heed their call.

About Trendwatch: Distributed biweekly during the state legislative cycle, Gun Law Trendwatch rounds up and analyzes trends in state gun legislation, documents important victories, and monitors the gun lobby’s activity in legislatures across the United States.