Spanberger Votes to Strengthen Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Safeguard Families & Law Enforcement from Gun Violence

Jun 09, 2022
Gun Safety
Press

The “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act” Would Incentivize More States to Adopt “Red Flag Laws,” Help Save Lives of More Americans in a Point of Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House in passing legislation to protect the lives of Americans in crisis, their families, and law enforcement officers.

The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would establish procedures for federal courts to issue extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), also known as “red flag laws.” ERPOs allow for the temporary removal of firearms from a person who has been deemed by a judge — with due process — to be dangerous to themselves or others.

Both Republican and Democratic leaders in states across the country have implemented ERPOs, helping to prevent thousands of potentially violent attacks. 19 states — including Virginia — and the District of Columbia have these laws on the books — but there is currently no federal extreme risk protection law.

“Access to a firearm creates potentially dangerous situations for those in a point of crisis, their loved ones, and the law enforcement who respond to a situation,” said Spanberger. “Across the country, we have seen far too many instances of family and friends raising concerns about a future murderer, law enforcement responding to the situation, and then ultimately no action being taken because of a lack of ERPO laws. As a former federal law enforcement officer, I recognize how these laws can keep our communities safe — and I know how deeply our first responders want to prevent a deadly incident. I have repeatedly voiced my support for and cosponsored legislation related to ERPOs, and I take this vote in hopes of preventing future tragedies, suicides, domestic assaults, and mass shootings across our country. ERPOs can save lives, and we have seen that demonstrated in states like Virginia where they are in place.”

This legislation would also create incentives for more states to adopt ERPOs. The bill would create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Justice focused on encouraging more states to adopt ERPOs and to support the 19 states that have already implemented them.

Yesterday, Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to pass the Protecting Our Kids Act. This bill includes eight additional provisions to prevent mass shootings and combat gun violence in America, including raising the purchase age for assault-style weapons, improving safe firearms storage, and limiting access to large-capacity magazines.

BACKGROUND

Since arriving in Congress, Spanberger has been a consistent voice for commonsense gun violence prevention legislation that can protect the lives of families, communities, and law enforcement.

In both 2021 and 2019, Spanberger voted to pass bipartisan gun safety legislation that would close existing federal background check loopholes and make sure individuals already prohibited from gun possession under federal law are unable to purchase firearms.

Spanberger has also voted twice to pass legislation to close the “Charleston Loophole,” which allowed Dylann Roof — a man prohibited by law from buying firearms — to purchase a gun before killing nine congregants at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. This legislation extends the background check length to 10 days, so that federal law enforcement have the time they need to complete necessary background checks.

Last week, Spanberger penned an op-ed for the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star outlining her support for specific gun violence prevention measures.

Spanberger is a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which was established in Congress after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

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