Use of Extreme Risk Protection Orders to Reduce Gun Violence in Oregon

Defined as civil court orders that temporarily restrict firearm purchase and possession for at-risk individuals, extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) are a relatively new judicial tool in the fight against firearm violence in the US. Between 2016 and 2020, 19 states elected to establish ERPOs, indicating a need for investigation into the characteristics and effects of such policies since their implementation. This study, which involved PISC External Advisory Board member Charles Branas, PhD, aimed to do just that -- it examined ERPO petition and respondent characteristics in Oregon, finding that 65% of petitions were filed by law enforcement, where such petitions were more likely to be approved than those filed by family and household members. The study also found that 73% and 75% of ERPO respondents were reported by petitioners to have a history of suicide and interpersonal violence, respectively. As such, the researchers conclude that, "ERPO petitions and orders are overwhelmingly being used as intended, that is, specifically for cases of imminent risk of harm to self or others," and recommend future strategies like greater dissemination of public information about ERPOs and legal aid assistance for filing petitions.

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