The Facts about ERPOs and How Families Can Help
48,830 people died from firearm-related injuries in 2021, equivalent to a death roughly every 11 minutes. 54% of these deaths were suicides. Reducing firearm injuries is an important task for the country, including family members. For example, a study in 2022 found that 79% of children and 43% of youth ages 18 to 20 used a family member’s guns to die by suicide. Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) are one option intimate partners and families can take to reduce firearm injuries.
ERPOs help prevent firearm violence through temporarily prohibiting purchase and possession of firearms by individuals at high risk of harming themselves or others. A study on Indiana’s ERPO law found for every 10-20 ERPOs issued, a suicide was prevented, and in Connecticut the ERPO law was associated with a 13.7% reduction in firearm suicides.
Household and family members, including intimate partners, can file for an ERPO against a family member in California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. If you live in a state where ERPOs are available but family and household members cannot file an ERPO, you can contact law enforcement to make the petition.
Resources for Family and Household Members
The APA offers information about risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors for suicide, and what you personally can do to support someone experiencing suicidal thoughts
The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Center provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, and resources for individuals and family members on prevention
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a 24/7 free, confidential helpline for individuals and families experiencing mental health challenges
Safe Storage Resources
Safe storage of firearms is the first step that family and household members can take to ensure that loved ones are safe. Regardless of if anyone in the household is in crisis, safe storage is essential for preventing accidental and intentional firearm injuries.
- Family Guide to Home Firearm Safety
- This resource includes information about firearm safety options in the home for families.
- Parents’ Guide to Home Firearm Safety
- This guide includes statistics about children’s access to firearms and ways to securely store firearms.
- Project ChildSafe
- Project ChildSafe provides information and resources related to gun safety, including gun storage guidance and free safety kits.
- BulletPoints Project
- The BulletPoints Project page on safe storage includes sources and information on multiple forms of safe storage, with videos, flyers, and descriptions.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
If you are experiencing a crisis, please text or call 988.
The content of this website is not legal advice and is only intended for general informational purposes. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.