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Extreme Risk Protective Orders Are in the News Again

Posted by Steve Karimi | Aug 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

A couple of weekends back we saw two mass shootings in America in less than 24 hours. The first happened in El Paso, Texas when a gunman drove from Dallas and opened up fire at a Walmart. He killed 20 and injured dozens before being apprehended by the police.

The second shooting happened in Dayton, Ohio at a popular nightclub. The shooter there killed nine (including his own sister) and wounded many more before he was shot and killed by police.

Details are still emerging, but there are reports that the Dayton gunman had a history of threatening women going back to his high school days when he was expelled for keeping a list of girls' names on a “rape” list. He was also reportedly a member of a pornogrind band, which is known for misogynistic lyrics. Questions are arising of whether the Dayton gunman would have been able to access a gun if there had been an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) filed against him, but ERPOs vary state to state and are not always enforced the same way.

Washington Red Flag Laws

In Washington, ERPOs (otherwise known as “red flag” laws), are court orders that remove a person's firearms and/or prevents them from purchasing firearms when they are proven to be at significant risk of hurting someone or hurting themselves.

A family or household member can petition for an ERPO and if there is enough evidence that a person (known as the respondent) has a history of violence, substance abuse, or mental health issues, then a judge can order that respondent to surrender their firearms temporarily. A family or household member is defined as someone who is: 

  • person related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
  • dating partner of the respondent;
  • person who has a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether they were married or had lived together;
  • person who lives with or has lived with the respondent within the past year;
  • domestic partner of the respondent;
  • person who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with the respondent; or
  • a person who is acting or has acted as the respondent's legal guardian.

In Washington, even friends or other third parties can request an ERPO. Once a judge signs an ERPO, law enforcement serves the respondent with the ERPO that same day and removes their firearms. Two weeks later there is a court hearing to determine whether the ERPO should end or be extended for a full year. The goal of ERPOs is to prevent suicides, mass shootings, and intimate partner shootings. Washington's ERPO law has been in place since 2016.

Domestic Violence Attorney Steve Karimi

If you have been in a domestic violence incident and had an ERPO filed against you, you need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Steve Karimi have the knowledge and experience you need to argue against an ERPO. Call them today at 206-621-8777 or contact them online.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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