Effectiveness of Red-Flag Laws and Other Emergency Protective Orders

Date Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Time 2 p.m. EDT
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Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs, also known as red-flag laws) have been adopted by 19 states and the District of Columbia to provide a mechanism for temporarily ensuring that people who pose a risk to themselves or others have less access to firearms. More states are likely to implement such laws soon, as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed by Congress in 2022 has funds to support such efforts. These laws temporarily prohibit individuals from possessing or purchasing firearms when a court has determined the individual may pose a threat of violence. In this webinar, researchers present recent findings on states’ experiences with ERPO laws. One study of six states found that approximately 10% of ERPOs were issued in response to threats of a mass shootings—usually threats targeting schools and businesses—but it is impossible to say how many such incidents were avoided due to ERPOs. Another examined population-level changes in firearm violence associated with implementation of such a law in San Diego, but did not detect such effects in the first four years of implementation. Population-level effects are likely to be harder to observe than effects on the violence outcomes of the individuals who are subject to ERPOs, however, and other research reports evidence of such effects. In this webinar, NCGVR-supported researchers will discuss these findings and what additional research is needed to determine the true effects of ERPOs.


April Zeoli: Extreme Risk Protection Orders and Multiple Victim/Mass Shooting Threats in Six States

April Zeoli

April Zeoli conducts interdisciplinary research, with a goal of bringing together the fields of public health and criminology and criminal justice. Her main fields of investigation are the prevention of firearm violence, intimate partner violence, and homicide through the use of policy and law. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on policy interventions for firearm use in intimate partner violence and on extreme risk protection orders. Broadly, Dr. Zeoli's research focuses on legal firearm restrictions for domestic violence abusers and their impact on intimate partner homicide and the implementation of those firearm restrictions. She also studies extreme risk protection orders and their use and effectiveness in preventing future firearm violence. Dr. Zeoli is associate professor, health management and policy, and Director of the Policy Core for the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention at the University of Michigan, and on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Injury Prevention, the journal Criminology & Public Policy, and the journal Homicide Studies, and also serves as the research expert for the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center.

NCGVR-funded project: A Multi-State Evaluation of Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Veronica Pear: Violence Following Extreme Risk Protection Orders: Population- and Individual-Level Findings from California

Veronica Pear

Veronica Pear is a social epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California at Davis. She studies modifiable upstream causes of firearm violence that can be leveraged to effectuate widespread, enduring reductions in violence-related harms. These include policies, social/structural conditions, and features of the local environment. Dr. Pear applies a range of methods to generate robust, policy-relevant research, from causal inference to mixed methods. Her work on California’s gun violence restraining order law (known colloquially as a “red flag” law) has influenced the state and national conversation on this policy.

NCGVR-funded project: The Role of Community and Individual Firearm Accessibility in Intentional Firearm Injury

Jeffrey Swanson: Understanding ERPO Research—Emerging Evidence from Individual, Area, and Population-Level Studies

Jeffrey Swanson

Jeffrey Swanson is professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. He is a faculty affiliate of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law School, the Center for Firearms Law at Duke Law School, and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke Sanford School of Public Policy. Swanson holds a PhD in sociology from Yale University. He is a social scientist researcher who collaborates across disciplines to build evidence for interventions, policies and laws to improve outcomes for adults with serious mental illnesses in the community, and to reduce firearm-related violence and suicide. He is an author of over 250 publications on subjects including the social environmental context of violence in mental illness, implementation of state firearm restrictions related to mental health adjudications, effectiveness of involuntary outpatient commitment, and psychiatric advance directives. Swanson led the research group that published the first empirical evaluations of risk-based, temporary firearm removal laws in Indiana and Connecticut, precursors to Extreme Risk Protection Order laws that were later adopted in many states.