Extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws, can help prevent gun injury incidents, including multiple victim/mass shootings, by addressing the threat before an incident occurs, according to new research led by the University of Michigan.
A study conducted by the U-M Institute for Fire Injury Prevention in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed more than 6,500 ERPO cases. Researchers found that more than 10% of the applications filed were in response to multiple-victim or mass shooting threats intended to harm as many people as possible.
An ERPO is a civil court order that temporarily prohibits someone who poses a risk of harm to themselves or others from purchasing and possessing a firearm, and involves a two-step process that includes a short-term (temporary) order (between seven days and one month). , depending on the state) and a long-term order lasting up to a year in most states.
Of the bullying cases studied, the most common were against K-12 schools (20%) and businesses (20%), followed by intimate partners, their children, and their families (15%).
“We are encouraged by the use of this tool in response to credible threats in all six states included in this study,” said April Cioli, instructor of health management policy in the UM School of Public Health, who led the study. “Even if only a small percentage of these cases are acted upon, their prevention can have a consequential impact, resulting in lives being saved.”
As noted in findings recently published in Preventive Medicine, in cases of multiple victim/mass shooting threats, 93% of petitions filed at the interim ERPO stage and 84% of petitions at a final hearing were granted. was allowed.
Although little is known about the epidemiology of mass shooting threats, the study also suggests that this and similar studies provide evidence that when a mass shooting threat is identified, ERPOs are used to intervene and remove access to firearms.
“It is clear from our findings that ERPOs are used to temporarily dismiss people who pose credible threats to commit violent acts,” said Shannon Frateroli, a professor at Johns Hopkins and lead faculty member of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
“The need to ensure that ERPOs are available to people who witness such threats and that systems are in place to respond is critical to increasing the effectiveness of this gun violence prevention tool.”
Case data from six states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, and Washington) were used, making this the first multistate study of ERPO laws. The study timeline began on the effective date of each state’s ERPO law and ended on June 30, 2020, except for Connecticut, where the analysis period began in 2013.
Additional partners in this work include the University of Washington, University of California-Davis, University of South Florida, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Yale University, Michigan State University, and Duke University.
The study was funded by the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research.