Giffords Lauds Lawmakers for Introducing Lifesaving Legislation that Strengthens the Implementation of Extreme Risk Protection Order Laws
Washington DC — Giffords, the gun violence organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, praised the introduction of the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021 by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Salud Carbajal today. Giffords also lauds Representative Lucy McBath for the introduction of the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021. The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would provide grants to states to implement extreme risk laws. The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would create a federal extreme risk law. Extreme risk laws are critical intervention tools that empower families and law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others from accessing firearms.
“Extreme risk protection orders are one of the most important tools to help prevent tragedies involving firearms,” said Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director at Giffords. “In 19 states and the District of Columbia, extreme risk laws are working and allowing family members and law enforcement to temporarily disarm someone at risk of harming themselves or others while protecting due process rights. This procedure should be available in every state across the country. We applaud Senator Feinstein and Congressman Carbajal for introducing legislation to help more states enact and implement extreme risk laws and save lives from gun suicides and homicides. We also applaud Congresswoman McBath for introducing legislation that would enable people across the nation to have access to this procedure in federal courts. ”
Early studies indicate the positive impact of these laws. Connecticut has a long-standing extreme risk law that allows law enforcement officers to intervene when people in crisis have access to firearms. In the first 14 years of the implementation of Connecticut’s law, researchers estimated that Connecticut’s law had saved up to 100 lives from suicide alone by temporarily removing firearms from 762 at-risk individuals. In addition, nearly one thirdof respondents received critical mental health and substance abuse treatment as a result of the intervention.
After many incidents of gun violence, family members and law enforcement often describe being concerned about the perpetrator showing warning signs of committing violence – even before any violence occurred. In the first year of enactment of Colorado’s extreme risk law, it has shown to be an effective tool to disarm people who are threatening harm against themselves or others: it was used to disarm someone threatening to buy an assault rifle to murder women at a sorority house as well as disarm someone threathening to shoot law enforcement officers and himself.
Extreme risk laws are incredibly effective at preventing suicide, which account for 60 percent of gun deaths annually. People are more likely to die by suicide if they have easy access to firearms. Firearms are only used in five percent of suicide attempts but account for more than 50 percent of all suicide deaths because eighty-five percent of suicide attempts involving firearms are fatal, substantially more than all other common means to end one’s life. The high fatality rate for suicide attempts with a firearm is significant given that nine out of ten people who survive a suicide attempt will not die by suicide at a later date. The ability to prevent someone who is experiencing suicidal ideation from accessing a firearm will save lives.
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