Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO)
Also known as Red Flag, EPROs allow the temporary removal of firearms. Under RI General Law 8-8.3, firearms may be removed, by court order, from a person who poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm.
Social Isolation Coupled with Access to Guns Can Spell Disaster
With families and individuals cooped up for weeks now, we are seeing a dramatic increase in not only the number of domestic violence calls to 911 and hotlines, but also a shockingly strong surge in RI gun permit applications.
Upon receiving credible information that a person poses an imminent threat with a firearm, R.I. law enforcement agencies are required to file an ERPO. A petition can only be filed by a law enforcement agency.
A hearing is often schedule on the day the petition is filed and the petitioner must supply various documentation and sworn affidavits regarding the need for the ERPO. A mental health or substance abuse evaluation may be considered and recommended.
If the court is convinced that the respondent poses the danger as outlined in the petition, a one-year ERPO shall be issued which will require surrender all firearms and concealed carry permits.
Prior to providing notice and holding a hearing, the court may issue a temporary emergency ERPO, if specific evidence is presented that clearly show threats of an urgent nature. If an emergency ERPO is issued, the court will issue a search warrant to locate and remove any firearms in the respondent’s possession. The temporary ERPO is generally allowed for up to 14 days, after which a full hearing is required.
Renewal of ERPOs
Within 14 days before the date of expiration the original petitioner must notify in writing all interested parties, including family and household members of the respondent. Within 14 days of expiration, the petition may request a renewal of the order for another one-year period; the court shall order a hearing to consider the matter. Court-ordered renewals are set for another one-year period.
Termination of ERPOs
Respondents may submit a single written request for a hearing to terminate an ERPO within the 12 month period that original order, or any renewal order, is in effect. The court shall st a date for a hearing not later than 30 days from the date of the request. The respondent has the burden to prove by evidence that they do not pose a significant, imminent danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.
Upon expiration of the ERPO, the agency holding the respondent’s weapons will perform a background check. If it is determined that the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms, the agency will return firearms to the respondent.