—Rep. Todd Stephens was invited to join legislative leaders from across the United States for a video conference to discuss efforts to bring extreme risk protection orders to Pennsylvania.
“It was helpful to hear from legislators in Florida and Maryland about the experiences where ERPO’s have been implemented, and also from other states where legislation is pending, to brainstorm on how to help advance extreme risk protection orders in Pennsylvania,” Stephens said.
The discussion comes a month after President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law.
That law includes $750 million for states to implement crisis interventions such as ERPOs, fulfilling the President’s repeated call for this funding. Last year, the Justice Department took action to support states’ efforts to enact these laws by publishing model red flag legislation.
A former federal firearms prosecutor, since taking office in 2011, Stephens has been a strong proponent of initiatives to reduce gun violence. He has been championing extreme risk protection order legislation since 2018, most recently introducing House Bill 1903
in the 2021-22 term.
“The mass shootings and alarming suicide rate across the country argue for legislation like this to disarm those who pose a threat to themselves or others before they act with gun violence,” Stephens said. “We must give family members and law enforcement a way to temporarily prohibit certain individuals from possessing firearms, and to relinquish any firearms they may currently have, to prevent them from doing harm until they can get the help they need.”
Stephens’ bill would allow a court to take the precautions necessary when provided with clear and convincing evidence the subject poses an extreme risk to himself or herself or others. If a court issues an ERPO prohibiting an individual from possessing firearms, that information would be promptly submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police to prevent the individual from purchasing firearms as well.