Stephens Renews Call for Extreme Risk Protection Orders to Disarm Dangerous People in PA
8/5/2019
HARRISBURG-- Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) this morning sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Majority Leader Brian Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Judiciary Chairman Rob Kaufman (R-Franklin) requesting consideration of his bill to disarm people who are shown to be a danger to themselves and others.

“ln the wake of the tragedies this weekend, leading Republicans, including President Donald Trump, and Democrats across the country are calling for states to adopt, among other proposals, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, a mechanism to disarm people who evidence shows are a danger to themselves or others,” Stephens wrote. “Extreme Risk Protection Orders are an evidence-based approach that studies show have saved lives in other states and are now available in 17 states and the District of Columbia.”

Stephens’ House Bill 1075 would allow judges to hear evidence and disarm people in crisis before they commit tragic acts of violence upon innocent victims. A version of this bill was voted out of committee last session.

The bill would specifically create an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) to allow a court to take precautions when provided with clear and convincing evidence a subject poses an extreme risk to themselves 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.

Under the bill, a court could immediately issue a temporary ERPO, but it must follow up with a full expedited hearing where the subject of the order may participate and offer evidence and testimony before a final order is issued. Final orders must be as short as safety allows but may not last more than one year.

Under this process, a district attorney could represent the petitioner, while a public defender could represent the respondent at the hearing for a final order.

The bill would also impose criminal penalties on any person who files a petition for an ERPO that contains false statements and civil penalties for anyone who seeks an order in bad faith.

“While this subject often provokes substantial policy debates, I know we all agree that the loss of one innocent life to gun violence is a tragedy that we must work to prevent,” Stephens said in the letter.

Read the letter here.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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