The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) provides a judicial pathway for the temporary removal of firearms and prohibits future gun purchases for the duration of the order.

An extreme risk protection order is a civil legal process that can be filed by a “family or household member”

Find out if you qualify as a family or household member under Massachusetts’s broad definition by selecting the link on the right

Legal Steps

Step Three

If the judge issues an ERPO, the judge will instruct law enforcement officers to serve the order on the subject of the petition.

Step Four

Attend the hearing scheduled by the court. The hearing will be scheduled within 10 days from the date the judge issues the order. (A hearing will also be scheduled if the order is denied).

THREE TYPES OF EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDERS (ERPOs)

Under an ordinary petition, the Court will schedule a hearing within seven days of receipt of the ERPO petition. The notice of the hearing will be served on the respondent by someone in law enforcement. (See “Emergency ERPO” for situations where serving prior notice on the respondent would worsen the situation.) The hearing can happen as quickly as two days following the filing of the petition if a firearm is required for the respondent’s job.

If at the hearing the Court finds that it’s more likely than not that the respondent’s possession of a gun license and/or guns “causes a risk of bodily harm to self or others” the Court will issue an ERPO. That ERPO order is then transmitted by the Court to the licensing authority where the respondent lives, and law enforcement will then go to the respondent’s house, inform them of the order and that they must surrender their weapons. The Court will also inform the national background check system of the ERPO, so that the respondent cannot buy weapons out of state.

Although the “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) is a civil procedure, violation of an ERPO order is a criminal offense. An ERPO is effective for up to one year from the date of issuance and can be renewed. The petitioner will receive notice 7 days before an ERPO is to expire so that they may refile if they feel appropriate.
You can ask the Court to issue an ERPO without prior notice to the respondent. To do this, the Court must find reasonable cause that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to themselves or others by being in possession of a firearm or firearm license.  The emergency order will expire within ten days unless a hearing is scheduled as described above, or if after such a hearing the Court finds no basis for issuing a permanent order.  Thus far in MA, most ERPOs have proceeded under this provision.
Only available through law enforcement when the courts are closed. Length of order: until 4:30pm on the next day the court is open.

MA ERPO (EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDER) RESOURCE GUIDE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

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ONE THING YOU CAN DO

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If you are in
immediate danger
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