Albany – Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Senator Brian Kavanagh released the following statement, after the Assembly Codes Committee passed legislation yesterday known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order, or ERPO (A8976/S7133):
“We are pleased that our Extreme Risk Protection Order bill passed the Assembly Codes Committee unanimously, with full support from both Republicans and Democrats.
“The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida has shaken the country to its core. We have learned that the shooter had a history of escalating violence and that people close to him were concerned about his behavior and reported it to law enforcement — but there was no mechanism for them to act. A temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order can prevent tragedies in cases like this.
“When a person exhibits warning signs that they pose a risk of serious harm to themselves or others, family and household members often observe these signs firsthand. Like Florida, even if these concerns are reported in New York, law enforcement may have no authority to act and help prevent tragedies from occurring, including interpersonal gun violence or suicide involving a gun. A temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order would restrict a person’s access to firearms if a court finds they are likely to harm themselves or others, while providing due process protections and the right to appeal.
“Five states including California, Washington, Indiana, Connecticut, and Oregon have adopted ERPO laws — and Connecticut has seen a measurable decrease in suicide rates. New York has worked hard to prevent gun violence through effective policing, community intervention programs, and sensible gun laws. The SAFE Act became the first state law passed in response to the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 and it has made a measurable difference. But it is not enough. In the wake of another senseless shooting, New York must once again be a leader in gun violence prevention efforts.
"Gun violence claims 33,000 lives every year in the United States. It is a public health crisis and we must do all that we can to prevent future tragedies from occurring. Thank you to the Members of the Assembly Codes Committee for their prompt attention to the ERPO bill and for passing it in committee. We look forward to working with our colleagues to enact this bill into law.”
The ERPO bill A8976/S7133 is sponsored by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman. It would create a new type of court-issued order of protection that temporarily prohibits individuals from purchasing or possessing guns if a family member or law enforcement officer petitions a court and the court finds that individuals are likely to engage in conduct that would harm themselves or others. Similar legislation has successfully been enacted in Connecticut, Indiana, California, and Washington.
The bill sponsors have also joined New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign, the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Moms Demand Action, Prosecutors Against Gun violence, and other legislators to form a growing coalition supporting enactment of ERPO this legislative session.