Marking this week’s third anniversary of Governor Baker’s signing of the Massachusetts Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and Stop Handgun Violence today launched a new website to share information about the law (www.MaERPO.org), with content that supplements information already provided by the state and tailored for attorneys, veterans, health professionals, family members and law enforcement officials,
The Commonwealth’s ERPO statute allows family members and members of law enforcement to petition courts to have weapons removed from gun owners deemed to be in crisis. Despite a state website and media attention around the passage of the bill three years ago, the law has been underutilized by Massachusetts citizens – a void the new website unveiled today is designed to fill.
“When gun violence prevention advocates asked me to take action to address gun violence in the state, I was happy to sponsor this legislation” said Senator Cynthia Creem, the Senate bill sponsor. “Without the added advocacy of the students of Massachusetts this bill would not have passed. But now we need that same energy behind awareness of the law. As more families learn about this law, more lives will be saved and this website is a step in the right direction.”
“Extreme risk protection orders are an important tool that empowers family members to reach out for help when they fear that their loved one may harm themselves or others” said Representative Marjorie Decker of Cambridge, the house bill sponsor. “This tool has proven to be helpful to both families across Massachusetts and law enforcement. It also ensures expedient due process to individuals who believe they have been wrongly accused or misunderstood. I am so grateful that the majority of Massachusetts residents have supported the adoption of this law and I was grateful to help usher it into Massachusetts law.”
“Three years ago, we were proud to support Representative Decker and Senator Creem to get this important legislation passed,” said John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence. “However, our job as a gun violence prevention organization is far from over. Today more than ever, widespread awareness of this law is needed. The recent events in Winthrop have shown that strong licensing laws are only part of the solution to gun violence and the Extreme Risk Protective Order legislation is critical to preventing gun injuries and deaths among people who are known to be a risk to themselves and others.”
“This website will be a key resource for families and providers looking to better understand how extreme risk protection orders work in Massachusetts” said Ruth Zakarin, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. “We know that when more people have access to this critical information more lives will be saved and we will take an important step forward in preventing gun violence in the Commonwealth.”
Stop Handgun Violence (SHV) is a Massachusetts based non-profit organization committed to the prevention of gun violence through education, public awareness, effective law enforcement and common sense gun laws. SHV has been the lead advocate in Massachusetts for enactment of the most effective gun violence prevention laws and first in the nation consumer protection regulations. The organization does not seek to restrict Constitutional rights, but advocates only for common sense legislation that will help save lives. For more information, go to www.stophandgunviolence.org
The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence envisions a world where every one of us, in every zip code, lives free of the threat of gun violence. The Coalition brings together impacted communities, advocates, public health experts and policy-makers to prevent gun violence in all its forms. The Coalition addresses the root causes of gun violence through education, policy analysis, trauma informed advocacy, and by amplifying the voices of impacted individuals and communities. Find out more at www.mapreventgunviolence.org