Inslee signed a bill today to update Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order
(ERPO) statute so that it’s more applicable to minors.
Senate Bill 5027 was sponsored by Sen. David Frockt
(D-Seattle). The terms of the bill came at the
unanimous recommendation of the Mass Shooting Workgroup, which met during the
2018 interim after the shooting in Parkland, Fla. and school shooting incidents
“We are unfortunately raising a generation of
children who are the lockdown generation, who are used to active shooter
drills,” Frockt said. “We’re trying to prevent these shootings through a variety of
avenues, including better threat assessment, improved social and emotional
supports and by removing access to weapons from the equation for those
exhibiting threats to classmates.”
clarifies the application of ERPOs to minors, and is designed to keep firearms
out of the hands of minors who are at a high risk of hurting themselves or
others during a behavioral health crisis or through potential violent behavior.
allows for people to apply for ERPOs for people under the age of 18. If court approved,
an order would prohibit the minor from accessing, controlling, purchasing,
possessing or receiving a firearm. The minor’s parent or guardian would be
notified of their legal obligation to safely secure any firearms.
Shooting Workgroup, comprised of representatives from all parts of Washington,
heard extensively about how the ERPO process can and should be applied when
warranted, and that it should be extended to these youth with notification to
their parents or guardians. This common
sense measure drew bipartisan support in the Senate.
to a report by Everytown for Gun
shooters exhibited warning signs indicating that they posed a danger to
themselves or others before shooting in about half of all mass shootings.
“We know that in the majority of cases, school
shooters obtain firearms from their homes, or the homes of a friend or a
relative,” Frockt said. “We know that these troubled teens often exhibit
warning signs. This bill addresses both of those trends by making sure that
minors who are in crisis don’t have easy access to guns.”
introduced the original ERPO statute as a bill in 2015. After the legislation
stalled for two years, Washington voters enacted an ERPO initiative in 2016,
with an overwhelming 69 percent of the vote. The measure had strong support in
nearly every corner of the state.
was the fourth state in the country to enact such a law. Nine other states have
since passed similar measures. The ERPO statute allows people to petition the
court to remove someone’s firearms if that person poses a significant danger to
themselves or others.