Family and Household Members

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Family and Household Members

Who qualifies as a Family/Household member:

  • If you are, or were, related to the individual by blood or marriage
  • If you have, or are having, a child in common with the individual
  • If you have, or were, in a dating relationship with the individual
  • If you live, or were living, with the individual in the same household
  • If you are, or were, engaged or married

How you can help/ steps to take

Step 1
Request a petition (F-1*) from your local Trial Court or download one online


Step 2
Complete and submit the petition and other necessary paperwork (FS-2 and FS-3)


Step 3
If the judge issues an ERPO, the judge will instruct law enforcement officers to serve the order on the subject of the petition


Step 4
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)

Where to Submit the Petition

During Court Hours

  • Go to the District Court for the city or town the individual who owns the firearms lives and file your ERPO petition
  • Appear in front of a judge
  • If the order is issued, the police will serve the order to the respondent
  • ERPO is in effect for up to 10 days

After court hours

  • Go to a police department where the firearm owner lives
  • A police officer will call an “on-call” judge and read the ERPO petition over the phone
  • The police will serve the order to the respondent and remove firearms
  • If the order is issued, it is temporary, and will only be in effect until the end of the next court day (at 4:30pm)
  • To make the order longer, you must go to court to have it extended

To make the order permanent

  • After a temporary, ten day order is granted, the court will schedule a hearing to make the order permanent (one year).
  • At the hearing, Respondent (firearm owner) has an opportunity to challenge the order and have firearms returned
  • If respondent’s challenge is granted, the firearms will be returned
  • If the petitioner (family member) does not attend the hearing, the court will let the ERPO expire and it will not become permanent.



Frequently Asked Questions


  • Nearly 6 out of every 10 gun deaths in Massachusetts are suicides
  • There was a 35% increase in suicides in Massachusetts between 1999 and 2016


Find out more on our Resources Page.

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