Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

ovsjg

Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants
 

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Extreme Risk Protection Orders:
When Someone with a Gun is a Danger to Themselves or Others

Are you worried that someone you know could harm themselves or others? Do they possess a gun? If so, you may qualify for an “Extreme Risk Protection Order.”

Under the District’s “Red Flag” law, you can ask the courts to remove firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. These requests are fast-tracked, and if approved, allow police to temporarily confiscate ammunition and related registration and licenses, as well as guns.

Highlights:

  • If someone in the District is a danger to themselves or others, you can have their guns removed.
  • To begin the removal process, file a free paper form with the DC Superior Court to request an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO).
  • You must have a family, romantic, or cohabiting relationship with the invidual, or be a police officer or mental health professional.
  • A temporary order can be issued within one business day. 
  • Within 2 weeks, you and the subject of the order will both be called to present evidence before a judge. 
  • If granted, the final order will apply for up to one year at a time.
  • Individuals who surrender guns or ammunition peaceably cannot be arrested or prosecuted for unlawful possession, although they can still be charged with crimes involving those weapons.  

Download a summary fact sheet about Extreme Risk Protection Orders from the Office of the Attorney General in English or Spanish

 

Who Can Request an ERPO?

To obtain an Extreme Risk Protection Order, or ERPO, you must be connected to the person posing a danger. Only the following people can apply:  Family Members Guardians Domestic Partners Romantic Partners or Dates Parents of a Child in Common Roommates MPD Police Officers Mental Health Professionals [as defined by DC Code §7-1201.01(11)]. 

How to Request an ERPO

You can request an ERPO from the Domestic Violence Division of the DC Superior Court. Forms are available online in English or Spanish* or from the Domestic Violence Division Clerk’s Office. There is no fee for requesting or submitting the form (often referred to as “filing a petition”). 

Completed forms may be dropped off in person  at one of two locations:

  • DC Superior Court/Domestic Violence Division
    • 500 Indiana Ave., NW, Room 4510
    • Washington, DC 20001
  • United Medical Center (Satellite Office)
    • 1328 Southern Ave., SE, Room 311
    • Washington, DC 20032

*Please note that court guidelines state that ERPO forms may only be submitted in Spanish in time-sensitive situations where court resource centers are closed and no translation service is available.

On the form you must provide:

  • your name and contact information, 
  • relationship to the respondent (person posing a danger), 
  • facts to support the claim that they pose a danger, and 
  • details about their firearms. 

You can also request a same-day hearing for an “ex parte” (temporary) ERPO as well as a search warrant. 

If you request a temporary ERPO, a judge will see you within one business day. If you do not request a temporary ERPO, a final hearing will be scheduled within 14 days. If officers are not able to serve a temporary ERPO within 7 days, you will be notified and the full hearing may be rescheduled.

To prepare for the hearing, please bring with you any witnesses, documentation, affidavits, or exhibits that support your request.

 

If a Temporary ERPO is Issued

If the judge determines that the respondent poses a danger to themselves or others, the court will issue an ex parte ERPO that will be in effect for up to 14 days. This temporary order allows police to remove any guns prior to a full court hearing. 

Police will then contact the respondent to retrieve any firearms and ammunition. If necessary, a search warrant can be issued. Please note that the police will provide copies of both the original petition as well as the temporary order to the subject of the ERPO.

A full hearing will then be held within 14 days. During the full hearing, both the petitioner (person who submitted the form) and the respondent (person who poses a potential danger) can present evidence about the respondent’s risk level. The court will then decide whether to issue a longer-term ERPO (“final order”) of up to one year. If the court is undecided on whether to issue a final order, the temporary order may be renewed.

 

If a Final ERPO is Issued

If a final order is granted, and police have not yet removed the firearms and ammunition, police will now seize them. 

Anyone who peaceably surrenders firearms or ammunition in response to an ERPO cannot be arrested or prosecuted for unlawful possession. However, they will not have immunity from any crimes linked to those weapons.

The final ERPO can be renewed as necessary but will only be in effect up to one year at a time.

 

Safety Planning

In addition to an ERPO, you may also qualify for a civil protection order, which places limits on the type of contact the respondent can have with you. Learn more about civil protection orders from the DC Superior Court.

Regardless of whether a judge issues an ERPO or any other protection order, if you fear for yourself or others, please seek help. 

  • The DC Victim Hotline (844-4HELPDC) is available around the clock by phone, chat, or text. Victim assistance specialists can listen to your concerns and help you take steps to enhance your safety.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) also provides 24/7 confidential support, including prevention and crisis resources for loved ones and professionals. 

 

Glossary

 

  • ERPO: Extreme Risk Protection Order; a DC Superior Court order that allows for the immediate removal of firearms, ammunition, and related licenses or registration from someone who poses a potential and significant risk to themselves or others.
  • Petition: a request form submitted to the court.
  • Petitioner: the individual who fills out, signs, and files the petition.
  • Respondent: the person named in the petition as posing a danger to themselves or others.
  • Ex Parte ERPO: a temporary ERPO in effect for up to 14 days that allows the removal of firearms and related materials prior to a full court hearing.
  • Final Order: an ERPO that is granted at or after a full court hearing in which the petitioner and respondent both have the opportunity to present evidence; in effect for up to one year.

 

Additional Resources

In addition to an ERPO, you may also qualify for a civil protection order, which places limits on the type of contact the respondent can have with you. Learn more about civil protection orders from the DC Superior Court.

Regardless of whether a judge issues an ERPO or any other protection order, if you fear for yourself or others, please seek help. 

  • The DC Victim Hotline (844-4HELPDC) is available around the clock by phone, chat, or text. Victim assistance specialists can listen to your concerns and help you take steps to enhance your safety.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) also provides 24/7 confidential support, including prevention and crisis resources for loved ones and professionals. 

 

 

Anonymous Firearm Disposal

Anyone can dispose of unwanted firearms or ammunition by delivering them to any police station (unloaded, in a locked container, and separate from ammunition) or by calling 911 and requesting that a police officer retrieve them.  No one who surrenders a firearm or ammunition this way is required to provide identification, photographs, or fingerprints, and they cannot be arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm or ammunition.

For more information on how to turn in a firearm or ammunition, please call the Firearms Registration Branch at (202)727-4275.