Say thank you for this good suicide prevention bill

During the legislative session we can advocate not only by asking our legislators to vote for or against bills, but also by rewarding them with our thanks when they do good things.

Say thanks to Rep. Steve Handy for HB 209: Extreme Risk Protective Order!

One of our favorite good things this year is the Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO), or “red flag”, bill for suicide prevention proposed by Rep. Steve Handy (R-Layton). This evidence-based bill would allow a family member or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from a person who poses a dangerous threat to themselves or others. The bill includes due process, strong evidentiary standards and opportunities to offer behavioral health services to people in crisis when needed.

Action Utah has worked side by side with Rep. Handy on this bill for a year, and we know the effort he has put into including the many stakeholders and perspectives to craft a terrific bill that respects Second Amendment rights and would save lives. Please join us in supporting him with a quick note of thanks!

2 Comments

  1. Susan Baker February 1, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Thiis is the first I have heard of the bill, and need more information. What is the projected cost to implement? How long before a judge must respond as time is most important here. Will the person get the fire arm back. There is a great deal lacking.

  2. Monica Bellenger February 2, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Susan: ERPOs are designed as emergency court orders. A judge can respond to a family member or law enforcement officer’s petition for an ERPO quickly, similar to the process in emergency situations for other protective orders in cases of domestic abuse. The judge can decide whether to issue an emergency, ex parte ERPO to remove firearms from the person at risk of harming themselves, or others. The respondent must then have a full hearing within 14 days (could be held sooner, but not longer than 14 days) to present their side. If, at that hearing the judge determines (based on clear and convincing evidence) that the person is no longer a threat – the firearms can be ordered returned immediately – otherwise, if the judge determines (based on the same standard of evidence) that the person continues to pose a threat, a longer ERPO could then be issued for a longer period of time (up to one full year). If a longer ERPO is issued, the respondent will still have one additional hearing opportunity to request earlier return of firearms, otherwise firearms are to be returned to the respondent upon the expiration of the ERPO order. Once a full ERPO expires, or if the judge orders an ERPO terminated at an earlier point, firearms must be returned to the respondent within 72 hours upon termination or expiration of the order. In terms of costs to implement, there will be forthcoming estimates of any costs associated with the implementation. Thank you for your question. You can read the entire bill here: https://le.utah.gov/~2019/bills/static/HB0209.html

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