What Is an Extreme Risk Protection Order and How Do You Get One?

Incidents related to gun violence in the United States have been steadily rising for the last five years. Whether a firearm is used to cause violence against others or against oneself, there are often warning signs the potential shooter may exhibit. For example, the active shooter responsible for the Parkland High School massacre had, prior to the incident, been the subject of multiple calls to local Florida law enforcement. However, in 2018 at the time of the shooting, Florida had no way of legally prohibiting gun ownership, despite the red flags.

An extreme risk protection order (ERPO) is an effective way of temporarily prohibiting any individuals who are exhibiting those warning signs from purchasing or owning any firearm. An ERPO is not only issued for those who are considered dangerous to others, but also to themselves. If you are concerned about a family member or friend and believe that an extreme risk protection order may be needed, a representative from Fighter Law can assist you today. 

Why Might You Need an Extreme Risk Protection Order? 

Currently, 19 states, including Florida, have enacted ERPO as a civil remedy for those who are demonstrating potentially dangerous warning signs. These warning signs must be documentable and prove the person is posing a genuine threat to their own health or to the health of their community. ERPOs have proven to be particularly successful for those who are displaying suicidal tendencies. If you are unsure if your family member or friend meets the criteria, the following are potential warning signs to look out for: 

  • Sudden increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Dramatic changes in behavior, like sleeping or eating habits 
  • The giving away of personal possessions
  • Self-harm 

Additionally, if you are concerned about the possibility of a shooting caused by a close friend or family member, an experienced attorney can help you petition your local law enforcement for an extreme risk protection order so the individual may receive more severe treatment for the base problems. 

How Your Attorney Can Help Obtain an Extreme Risk Protection Order For You Today

If you are concerned about a family member and the potential harm they may cause to themselves or others, a knowledgeable criminal lawyer can help. The process for obtaining an ERPO varies from state to state. In Florida, “the petitioner”—yourself or your lawyer—must file a petition to local law enforcement. The petitioner must be able to show that the individual, known as the respondent, poses a significant risk of harm. 

If the petitioner is able to demonstrate reasonable cause, a court order will be issued. It will immediately request that the respondent surrender all firearms or licenses to carry to law enforcement. It will also prohibit them from purchasing or possessing any firearm for up to one year.

Depending on the immediacy of risk and where the potential harm is directed, you may have to file additional affidavits to your county clerk for consideration. A Florida lawyer with knowledge of the specific documents required can help when it comes to determining what exactly needs to be filed. 

Get Help From a Fighter Law Attorney Today 

The board-certified attorneys at Fighter Law are here to help you and your family navigate the sensitive process of obtaining an extreme risk protection order. Our team of attorneys is skilled in handling the intricacies of delicate topics and are here to stand by you and your family during this difficult time. 

For more information on how one of our dedicated lawyers can help your situation today, please fill out our contact form or call us at (407) 344-4837 for a free consultation.


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