June 7, 2018
BOSTON – Today, Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate voted to engross H.4539, An Act Relative to Firearms. The legislation allows a judge to order the immediate suspension and surrender of any license to carry firearms from an at-risk person when petitioned by that person’s family or household member. Such an order is called an extreme risk protection order (ERPO). The bill is also known as the ‘red flag’ or ‘ERPO’ bill.
The legislation supplements Massachusetts’ extensive common-sense gun control and public safety regulations which have led to the lowest rates of gun deaths in the nation. Additionally, the bill amends the statute regulating stun guns.
“This Extreme Risk Protective Order bill will provide us with the additional tools necessary to help prevent gun related tragedies and protect public safety,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “With today’s vote, Massachusetts is once again taking the steps needed to lead the nation with commonsense gun legislation that will undoubtedly help to save lives. This bill is truly the culmination of the hard work and tireless advocacy of countless parents, students, public safety officials, and elected officials, and I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this day possible.”
“This legislation provides a framework for removing dangerous weapons from people who may harm themselves or others. It will reduce the risk of suicide and murder, and will encourage distressed people to seek the mental health treatment that they may need. But perhaps most importantly, this bill gives family members the tools and confidence to help their loved ones in extremely tense and emotional situations. I am very happy that the Senate has approved this legislation to make Massachusetts an even safer place to live,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester).
“There is no one-size-fits-all answer to gun violence, but ERPO adds another important tool to protect our residents and our communities,” said Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton). “Today we answered the call of many advocates, especially our young people, and took an important step towards a safer future.”
Similar laws already exist in five other states. As of this year, 32 ERPO bills were being considered by 19 states’ legislatures as well as Washington D.C.
The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives, before moving to the Governor for final approval.