Ask your state representative and senator to support extreme risk protective orders to save lives in Utah.
For the past two years, legislators have considered – but not passed – an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) bill, also know as a ‘red flag’ law, to address firearm suicide in Utah. Such laws have been passed in 17 states and have been shown to dramatically reduce suicides.
68% of Utahns support a red flag law for Utah, including Republicans, Democrats and gun owners alike. The most recent version of this bill, HB 229 Extreme Risk Protective Orders, has stalled without a hearing. That doesn’t mean the fight for this important, life-saving policy is over! NOW is the time to contact your state representative and state senator and ask them to continue to pursue extreme risk protective order policy for Utah, regardless of the fate of HB 229 to save lives, provide a pathway to behavioral health services and protect Second Amendment rights!
What would Utah’s red flag law do?
Importantly, this policy includes provisions to ensure that:
- Firearms will be automatically restored at the end of an ERPO (unless, of course, a respondent is a prohibited person).
- Only a limited group of people may petition a judge to grant an order – no vindictive neighbors or angry strangers – and false accusations carry a strong penalty (third degree felony).
- Only a judge can decide to issue an ERPO, and they must base their decision on strict evidentiary standards considering specific and multiple factors of risk.
- The burden of proof is on the petitioner to present strong evidence that a respondent poses a dangerous risk to themselves or others.
- ERPOs are temporary! Emergency orders last up to 14 days, after which a firearm may be returned unless evidence proves the respondent is not yet out of crisis. They may be extended for a year.
- A judge can recommend professional evaluation for behavioral health services in order to help a person in crisis get the treatment they need.
- The respondent has the right to appeal a judge’s decision as well as to request early termination of an order.