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Giffords Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan Extreme Risk Legislation

 Extreme risk laws allow for the temporary removal of guns from people in crisis 

February 14, 2019 Giffords , the gun violence organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly, praised the introduction of the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019 by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Don Beyer (D-VA) today. The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would provide grants to states to implement extreme risk laws. These laws empower families and law enforcement to temporarily prevent access to guns by individuals at an elevated risk of endangering themselves or others, saving lives while ensuring critical legal protections for respondents.

Extreme risk laws create a civil court order, issued by a judge upon consideration of evidence provided by a family member or law enforcement officer, that temporarily prohibits a person in crisis from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition. A common thread in many shootings is that family members of the shooters had noticed their loved ones engaging in dangerous behaviors and were concerned about their risk of harming themselves or others – even before any violence occurred.

“Americans are outraged that more than 100 Americans die every day from a gunshot.” said Robin Lloyd, Managing Director at Giffords. “Leaders in state capitols have channeled that anger into action – passing innovative policy solutions like extreme risk laws that are saving lives. Last year alone, eight states — including several states with Republican governors — passed some form of extreme risk legislation into law. It’s time to bring this fight to Congress so more family members and law enforcement officials across the country have the power to help prevent someone they know who is experiencing a crisis from causing tragedy. We appreciate Congressman Carbajal and Senator Feinstein’s leadership, thank them for introducing this bill, and will work with them to get this bill passed.”

States with Extreme Risk laws have seen positive results. California enacted this life-saving law in 2014, and Washington voters overwhelmingly passed it in November 2016. Connecticut and Indiana have long-standing extreme risk laws that allow law enforcement officers to intervene when people in crisis have easy access to guns. In the first 14 years of the implementation of Connecticut’s law, researchers estimated that by temporarily removing weapons from 762 at-risk individuals, Connecticut’s law had saved up to 100 lives from suicide alone. In addition, nearly  one third  of respondents received critical mental health and substance abuse treatment as a result of the intervention. A total of 13 states now have extreme risk laws in place.

Extreme risk laws are also an important tool to help prevent suicides. Those in a suicidal crisis are much more likely to survive if they do not have easy access to firearms for the duration of the crisis. Research shows that people are more likely to die by suicide if they have easy access to firearms, and eighty-five percent of suicide attempts involving firearms are fatal. The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019 would help more states pass and implement life-saving extreme risk laws.