Extreme Risk Protective Orders

Update, June 28, 2018

For a more recent explanation of my support for this bill, please see this post.

I’ve received hundreds of emails urging me oppose legislation intended to allow relatives to take guns away from people who are apparently suicidal.

They read as follows:

Dear Senator William Brownsberger:

As a law-abiding Second Amendment supporter in Massachusetts, I urge you to please oppose H.3081.

Constitutional rights are generally restricted only upon conviction of a felony. The reasons for this are two-fold. It limits restrictions on constitutional rights to only the most serious offenses, and, perhaps more importantly, felony convictions provide greater procedural protections to the accused, which results in more reliable convictions. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms should not be treated as a second-class right and should be restricted only upon conviction of a felony, like other constitutional rights.

Once again, as your constituent, I urge you to please oppose H.3081. Thank you.

I have replied as follows:

Thanks for writing about gun violence restraining orders.

I am a cosponsor of this legislation.

I think it responds to a reasonable set of circumstances that may not be fully covered by existing restraining order law — we do want to take weapons away from people who are suicidal.

There is strong precedent for this approach under our law — it does not raise constitutional issues: We follow the same approach in domestic violence cases.

I listened recently to lengthy testimony on the bill — both pro and con — and my commitment to this legislation has been renewed and increased.

I appreciate hearing from you and I understand that you have a different view.

Many have followed up with an emphasis on the risk that people could be unfairly accused, to which I have replied along these lines:

From a constitutional perspective, here are two things that should give you comfort:

  • It’s not just anyone who can ask for a protective order — only people you are very close to (family, girlfriend), or health care provider or police.
  • You can at any time go in for a hearing to have it removed.

Not a perfect solution, but there is so much suicide going on — sadly, all too often among those who have served our country in the most honorable possible way.

Your thoughts? I’m committed to finding a way to make this legislation (language here) work, but we want to do it right, so input is much appreciated.


Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

111 replies on “Extreme Risk Protective Orders”

  1. Don’t expect a vote from any of my friends or relatives in your district. This is just another take our guns away. And for suicidal people guns are only one of a thousand weapons they could use. what have you done to correct the source problem for these people. Who do you think you are kidding,
    Dem’s in this state are going to have a surprise this next election.

    Bill Grime

  2. This is another way to get your hamds on our guns. Sorry Will. Im not buying it man. There are already laws set in place for these kinds of things. And as youve said you recieved alot of us, responding to this bill in opposition. To be 100% honest I dont think that you read these responses /comments here anyway. You do not have my vote.

  3. I respect that your heart is in the correct place. However, this appears to be a simple infringement on rights, purely due to firearms. So I ask, if the Government has the authority to forcibly take personal property (in this case, specifically firearms) from suicidal people, where does it end? Do you take the car away because the person may hook a hose to the tailpipe (like that poor boy was encouraged to do)? Do you remove all the knives and razors from the home, as he or she may slice a wrist? Do you confiscate all sleeping pills and alcohol from the home? At that point, maybe the person should just be committed to an institution to protect themselves.

    Also, the process is backward. You propose to remove the right, BEFORE due process. You perceive that the government has the right to confiscate personal property, simply because a person is perceived to be suicidal. The actual hearing where the accused, comes later (and given court schedules, likely at some point much later). It becomes the person’s obligation to prove in court that he is fit to obtain his property, where it should be the government’s responsibility to prove he is unfit. Clearly backwards procedure here.

    Seriously.. Given Linksy’s history against responsible firearm ownership, and the fact that this is such a shortsighted fix to an unfixable problem. A person who is intent on taking their own life, cannot be legislated out of doing it. It’s not the government’s responsibility to keep us safe from ourselves. Thus, I cannot respect your position on this issue.

  4. Another removal of constitutional rights without due process?

    You can go in for a hearing at any time? And how long will it take to get a hearing to restore your property and constitutional right? Weeks? Months? All based on zero evidence, simply a person’s say so.

    If this is truly meant to protect those that are suicidal, are automobiles, medications, scissors, razors, ropes, and other means of self harm being removed as well? No, because this is a political move rather than a harm prevention measure.

  5. How are 4th amendment rights protected? An accusation in court alone should not be sufficient to deprive someone of property rights.

    Let the case be made.
    Then let the accused face their accuser.
    Then apply force judiciously.

    If, Senator, you feel the law is proper in its current form, then allow the accused to seek financial and judicial retribution against any individual or state official if said Risk Prevention Order is deemed unfounded. That would show you are indeed looking out for the best interest of all parties. Otherwise it looks like a way for anybody close to the victim (like a jilted lover) to deprive a person of their 2nd amendment rights.

    I find it incredibly unsettling that a State Senator would support any measure that would violate the United States Constitution.

  6. I think you need to add language that suspends 4A and 5A rights so you can be sure that you get all the guns (allow .gov to search their homes and force them to testify against themselves.) Afterall, according to you, they can later petition to get those rights back.

    1. I get the irony.

      No. That is not where we are headed.

      There is a balance to be struck and the devil is in the details. I don’t think we are on a slippery slope to total loss of liberty.

  7. I’m surprised you’re allowing us to still petition the government for redress, or is that restriction in the next session?

  8. First, thank you for providing a forum for discussion about this.

    I respectfully disagree with you on the risk this bill poses for loss of liberty. As you say, the devil is in the details – in a state where the Attorney General can “reinterpret” 20 years of standing practice around firearms and the Legislature says “whoop, I guess we’ll have to wait a few years for the courts to decide she’s wrong”, how are legal gun owners supposed to expect your intended results from this bill?

    The most recent numbers I found (from 2012) talked about ~136 suicides by firearm in Massachusetts that year. That year the state had a population of 6.6 million people and about 248,000 licensed firearms owners. (links below). The risk of even intentional misuse of this legislation outweighs the low benefit to such a small population. While every loss of life is a tragedy, the system MUST protect the rights of everyone and the system and its rules will always carry some risk.

    Massachusetts suicide data (2012)

    MA Firearms Licenses 2012

    MA population 2012

    Finally, I disagree with your assertion that you want to take weapons away from people who are suicidal. If that were the case the bill would ensure that at-risk person was denied access to the most common methods of suicide – hanging, suffocation and poisoning.

    The legislation denies the person of their rights first, and then requires them to prove it is not appropriate. When the police confiscate firearms in MA for any reason, they often turn them over to bonded warehouses for storage for which the owner must pay. Anecdotally, valuable collector items are sometimes not treated with appropriate care.

    If the legislation were fair and if there were really such low risk of misuse, it would fully compensate the firearms owner for any loss incurred due to a false report. There would be guaranteed criminal and financial penalties for those falsely who falsely file a report, reimbursement of any expenses incurred by owner who proves their case.

    It is after all, a Constitutional right that is proposed to be limited.

      1. Sorry for the multiple posts, every time I read the materials you linked I find something else. Since the Commonwealth doesn’t follow its own laws today in regards to the timelines to issue or deny firearms licenses (http://www.mass.gov/auditor/docs/audits/2017/201608573s.pdf), I am highly suspicious of the hearing-within-10-days clause. Without something to make the Commonwealth take it seriously it will be routinely ignored just as the current law. If the sponsors are truly acting in good faith, it should be no issue to add a clause so that if the hearing is not held by day 10, that the order is cancelled (not “stopped” but “erased” – never happened, no record of it), the persons property is returned to them and their expenses are reimbursed (legal, bonded warehouse used by the police department, etc) and that court cannot issue an order against that person for some period (1 year, same as the time proposed for the orders themselves?). Without this protection, the time-to-hearings would inevitably stretch out. It may be appropriate to have the Auditor report on compliance on some defined schedule, certainly no more than every 2 years.

  9. Clarification to my earlier comment, the legislation does provide up to a $1000 fine for someone knowingly using the process to harass a firearms owner. Given the costs incurred for storage, legal costs, time out of work to attend court, potential damage to expensive property, etc., I meant to highlight that the number should be removed and replaced with full reimbursement to the person who was erroneously deprived of their rights. If the person is a healthcare provider or law enforcement officer who misuses it, they should have personal liability for the costs. If the risk is truly low, that should be a non-issue.

  10. “You can at any time go in for a hearing to have it removed.”

    How much is that going to cost a defendant? Why should the defendant bear the burden of cost? Why should the taxpayer? How long is it going to take to get a hearing? “Any time” is a one line quip and we both know it.

    Who gets to decide on what evidence that someone’s constitutional rights get to be permanently removed? What penalties come with false reports? What penalties come with failure by a state agency to adhere to the law (as an example, see the report on the state law regarding the mandatory 40d licensing process which has no penalty, and is widely ignored in the commonwealth).

    And of course, lastly, what is the fee for the state holding on to a defendants firearms in a bonded warehouse? Hint: its not a free service, so who pays for that?

    Without any kind of accountability on every step of this action this piece of legislation is nothing but a disaster looking to take people’s constitutionally granted rights (not privileges) away.

  11. Dear Senator Brownsberger,

    This action is an egregious infringement on rights, purely based on the presence of firearms.

    Where would this end?
    + Take away motorcycles, because they are dangerous? (I am a rider with 37 year’s experience.)
    + Require helmet use in automobiles? They’re dangerous, too.
    + Replace crosswalks with pedestrian bridges? Crosswalks are dangerous, too.

    So, if this bill were to pass,the government now has the right to confiscate personal property, simply because a person is perceived to be suicidal?

    Fine, I propose taking all personal property from Congressmen and Senators, since they should be setting examples for us to follow.

    Do you see the lunacy here?

    Make this bill go away, NOW. This is an extreme example of blatant, unconstitutional thievery. I will continue to watch its progress carefully.

    With best regards,

  12. So now rights guaranteed by the Constitution can be removed without adjudication and conviction? How can ANY sane person feel that this is even a viable law? Hypothetical: “I don’t like my cousin, so eff him, I’m going to get the police to take his guns away by telling them I think he may be suicidal.” Now Mr. Policeman comes to the door, already knowing there may be an issue with taking the guns, and is EXTRA twitchy. Great, more cops accidentally killing innocents, the last thing THEY need.

      1. Well, I wouldn’t say “nothing”. The person is deprived of their 2nd amendment rights. That should be a big deal. They are not protected from any other form of self-harm, they are forced to incur considerable expense and effort, their property may be damaged, the knowledge of such an order may affect their work or living arrangements. They are placed in the position of having to prove a negative. The police already have the ability to take people into protective custody if they are at risk of harming themselves or others. This legislation appears to solve no problem but only to exist as a way to further infringe on lawful firearms owners. Presumably there was some analysis done of the actual benefits this bill would provide, can you please link to that? I’m looking for something with hard numbers please, I was not successful in finding that on my own.

      2. Does the subject of the order have any opportunity to present a defense?

        How is this different than the current situation? Presently, a person who has been adjudicated as mentally unfit is considered a prohibited person per federal law (see ATF form 4473, the NICS background check form).

        Further, to own a firearm in MA requires a license issued at the discretion of the local police chief. That license can be rescinded when the chief sees fit and that often happens in divorce proceedings when judges issue restraining orders at the request of the spouse.

        Those restraining orders are often, essentially, rubber stamped. Will these orders be similarly rubber stamped? How does the subject of the order get his or her right reinstated and what happens to any firearms (personal property) in the meantime?

      3. I should have also noted that the idea of concentrating on firearms as a means of preventing suicide is a bit bogus. The US is often compared to the UK and Australia as far as gun control is concerned. Well, those countries have very similar, overall, suicide rates to the US. Other developed nations have higher suicide rates. Clearly substitution is in effect.

        If the person is truly at risk of suicide, I would hope we’re also looking at other ways to prevent this action.

      4. Senator, if there is nothing terribly novel about this legislation, then why did you file it?

  13. Thank you Sen. Brownsberger for co-sponsoring this important legislation.

    As law enforcement, medical professionals and victims testified to the committee, this legislation would empower families to take action when a family member is going through a mental health crisis. The bill also provides procedural due process for the gun owner to protect their second amendment rights.

    We support this legislation. Thank you for your leadership on this life saving policy.

    1. Just for context, the police chiefs who testified in favor of this legislation are among the worst offenders in complying with the state law on the issuance or denial of firearms licenses according to the State Auditor. While MA law requires that a permit be issued or denied in 40 days, the Chelsea and Arlington chiefs’ departments each take an average of 72 days, nearly twice as long as required by law.


      How is one to extrapolate behavior around extreme risk protection orders when the police already don’t comply with firearm licensing law?

  14. Thanks for your leadership in supporting The extreme risk protective order bill.

  15. I don’t see it as a restriction on those beloved “right to keep and bear arms” rights. Why wait for disaster to strike? Adam Lanza was clearly disturbed and dangerous… if his mother had the right to restrict his access to arms., she and 25 others would be alive. I can also sympathize with families who are aware that someone is a suicide risk. Again, why wait for disaster to strike? It’s insensitive to think of families trying to keep a loved one Alive as restricting his or her rights. I agree with your thoughts here, Senator.

    1. Adam Lanza was 20 years old, the law in Connecticut requires that a person be 21 to obtain a gun permit. For what it’s worth, Wikipedia says the Adam’s mother did not fear him, so it is highly unlikely she would have taken out an extreme risk protection order against him.


      The system has mechanisms today that will not be improved by this legislation. The police can already take someone into protective custody. Family members can take possession of firearms without involving the police. This legislation ignores all the common methods of suicide (hanging, strangulation, poisoning) and provides no meaningful path to treatment. The entire concept of extreme risk protection orders appears to be such a new idea that there is no statistical evidence that it is effective.

  16. Thank you for co-sponsoring the extreme risk protective orders bill. I believe it is important that we do all we can to protect people from gun violence. If this bill helps to save one life, it is worth the struggle to pass it.

    1. While I respect your desire to prevent loss of life, I disagree with your line of reasoning. Where does it stop? Do we deport all the undocumented people to save one life? Do we lock up all the doctors and nurses because medical errors are the #3 cause of death in the US? Do we revisit minimum sentencing and tack on years to prison sentences because it might save one life? In theory, everyone is trying to get to zero, but it has to be done in a way that respects everyone’s rights.


  17. I applaud your bill H. 3081. It is responsible and will save lives of those with mental illness. Thank you for sponsoring the bill. I feel safer knowing you are my senator.
    Much thanks,
    Shelley Klein.

    1. Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(d)) and Massachusetts law (Part 1, Title XX, Chapter 140, Section 131) already prohibit the possession of firearms by the mentally ill. This law does nothing to the help the mentally ill or protect them from the most common forms of suicide in MA – hanging, suffocation and poisoning.

      1. Unfortunately, this is not about suicide prevention, but about gun control. The Senator and his cosponsor have a history of filing anti-gun legislation loosely covered by emotional and sad issues that have nothing directly to do with guns, but already illegal behaviors. This is feel good legislation that he can tout for re-election as a strong change. I find it interesting that an official elected to represent the people is choosing to ignore the hundreds of comments that he has received on this matter because obviously, he knows better.

  18. It is sad that you think that this bill will prevent suicide or even slow it down. Perhaps you should spend a few days riding in an ambulance and watch what the staff has to deal with. All you are doing is hurting legal gun owners you are not doing anything to assist despondent people.People who are threatening to injure themselves will do it whether they have a gun, knife, auto, or other device. The biggest problem I see is if someone reports they think someone is going to injure themselves whether they are or not they will loose their second amendment rights. Do you use you’re brain as a hat rack or to sit on this bill will only cause more problems.

  19. Dear Senator Brownsberger,

    I support the extreme risk protective order, H.3081. From all that I understand about gun violence and suicide prevention removing guns from people who are suicidal is an excellent idea.

  20. Re: H3801

    I favor your support of this bill to give a relative or close friend a procedure to take away a gun from a person who has demonstrated suicidal tendencies. There are too many news reports of a successful suicide when a gun was readily available; these reports provide ample evidence that removing a gun can leaves one less means to proceed–a means from which there is no recovery.

  21. Dear Senator William Brownsberger:

    Thank you for this opportunity to comment on why I think H.3082 is bad and not needed.

    You say:
    * “It’s not just anyone who can ask for a protective order — only people you are very close to (family, girlfriend), or health care provider or police.”
    *”You can at any time go in for a hearing to have it removed.”

    As I see it here are my thoughts:

    Yeah Right..Why don’t I believe you that it would be as easy and simple as you say…could it be our experience in how MA, and US government has been and is being run

    What is broken that needs to be fixed ??

    Why do politicians think they know what is best for the people they are elected to represent. The current thinking is that they do not know best and do not hold the people best interest at heart.

    * I will not relinquish my responsibilities to protect ,and care for my family to the State of MA in the circumstances that are pro-ported to exist that now requires a law!

    * There are already many restrictions on gun ownership and numerous options for take a gun way from people that should not have them.

    * People should be able to live their lives without more Government interjecting it self into every facet of living.

    * Citizens in USA are assumed innocent of allegation until they undergo a due process that that finds otherwise.

    * There are many ways currently to get guns away from those who would do harm to themselves and others without making it easy for anyone with dishonest,or misguided motives.

    *If I had a family member that was a danger to himself or the public I would take his gun.There are many options for this to occur without involving PC bureaucrats that think they know how best to hold a hearing because they have some Government job and 30 minute training.

    * A hearing you say would solve the injustice. This is both time consuming for the person and, as usually happens, has the potential of overburdening the system that would oversee such hearings

    * Would a new bureau need to be created to oversee such hearing.

    * I can assume that such hearings would also require filings and administrative fees to be heard, as support for another Government entity.

    * Suicides have been with human kind as long as humans have existed. This is a condition of life and living in some circumstances. There are countless ways one can commit this act if the have a mind to.

    *H.3081 would do little to stop suicide and do more harm in taking away citizens’ rights to live his life without further government interference.

    *Instituting H.3081 is wrong on many levels. It is yet another invasive law that infringes upon the freedom of MA citizens and is not needed.

  22. Dear Senator William Brownsberger:

    I just read your statement on H.3081.

    Aren’t there more important matters that cry out for your attention and time instead of pursuing H.3081?

    You said: “I listened recently to lengthy testimony on the bill — both pro and con — and my commitment to this legislation has been renewed and increased.”

    I am saying the following not because I disagree with your position but because you, as an elected official, trusted to uphold your oath to the US Constitution are in violation of that oath.

    You have heard many comments on H.3081, now please give us your reasons and elaborate on your commitment to support H.3081. It would be very informative to me and other citizens if you could give your reasons on why you support H.3081, how you envision it will be implemented, and of the problems this law would prevent or make right.

    I am very disappointing that you have prematurely made up your mind on favoring this terrible law even before hearing and evaluating all comments that are still coming in. This is exactly what citizens have repeatedly come to expect from self serving elected officials in this State and USA.

    I will in turn do my best to persuade and educate all my family, friends and strangers to vote you out of your office. For I feel you should not be in this position of power to abuse my and the rights of all good and honest citizens.

    I strongly urge all who will make their comments in the future to take note of your un-constitutional stance.

    Do the right thing by upholding your oath to the US Constitution and do your job to protect the rights of all law abiding citizen that want a good Government.

  23. it is sad that suicides happens, but the truth is if the person is suicidal he will try to do it any way he can find. Making this law is just another way the government can take firearms away from the people. Even in your own answer you said the only people that can ask to take them away is family , girlfriend and the Police. The police should have no say on to who is suicidal, since they may not know the person. Oppose the bill.

  24. Dear Senator Brownsberger

    I am a law abiding citizen who also happens to be a gun owner as such i am opposed to this bill H.3081 and i am urging you to reconsider your position on this bill, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms should not be treated as a second-class right and should be restricted only upon conviction of a felony, like other constitutional rights.

    as such i am very disappointed in your dissension to back this bill its only another way to restrict my second amendment rights.

  25. I’m disappointed by your position Senator. Aside from the precedent you cite as your reason for this passing Constitutional examination there is also a precedent for Massachusetts abusing and “re-interpreting” laws and subsequently applying them in ways the legislature never intended. See Healey’s most recent actions on modern sporting rifles for a perfect example of such. You claim it is only close relatives today – but tomorrow it could be a 3rd cousin who lives in California who maybe doesn’t like guns and a post on Facebook you made about how much seeing legislator take freedom from the people makes you feel.

    This is also outright gun confiscation incognito. Assume you are “reported” and you have your firearms taken. you go to a hearing and win. So you should get your firearms back right… but nope – you see you still have to pay the bill for the bonded warehouse to store them for you (looking at you village vault) as that is what MA law requires. The cost for that will exceed the value of the firearms confiscated. Consequently you NEVER get your firearms back. Does this legislation offer any protections to those who go to a hearing and win? Will the state pick up the bill for the bonded warehouse… Nope… Consequently this becomes gun confiscation from a law abiding citizen who was wrongly identified, cleared in court, and is still denied access to his/her property by the state and forced to incur the costs for both the bonded warehouse and legal defense.. All without being charged or convicted of a single crime.

    That is why this bill is so sinister in it’s true intent and MUST BE STOPPED.

    1. I’ll add as well – if someone wanted to commit suicide in MA, there are far more accessible ways then a Firearm in this state. The could simply drink something from under the kitchen sink. So what next – do we ban bleach? They could hang themselves. So do we ban rope? At what point is it too much to ask of the law abiding good citizens of the state to give up in freedom under the guise of protecting the few who would do harm to themselves? Particularly when there are far more accessible ways in this state.

  26. There must be due process. Some crime must be committed or compelling evidence provided to judicial authority to suspend constitutional rights.

  27. How about spending some of your high
    Powered thoughts on the amount of people
    Killing themselves with opioids and other
    Cheap imported drugs…….. here is a group
    Of people killing themselves and hurting
    Others while breaking the law.
    It’s probably easier to pick on a group of law
    Abiding gun owners that are easier to find
    And persecute because of the level of
    Information the Government has on us.

    Fred E. Hagan

  28. Senator William Brownsberger,

    It is apparent from your co-sponsorship of this legislation that the word of any individual (regardless of their relationship) is reason enough to rob a citizen of due process. That a hearing (that there is no way of guaranteeing will occur in a timely manner) needs to be held in order to reinstate the rights of a citizen. Worse still, this legislation makes illegal search and seizure of private property legal, as long as any person who CLAIMS to be of close relation states that they think someone might be at risk.
    This brings the Commonwealth DANGEROUSLY close to stating that all firearms can and must be seized, by the state, from all residents, on the grounds that the government of the Commonwealth believe that someone might be hurt. Why? Because your proposed legislation opens the door to eliminate our legal right to due process. I beg of you to reconsider your actions that attempt to circumvent the rights of not only your constituents, but ALL legal residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, both present and future.

    Best regards,

    James Vigeant

  29. Dear Senator Brownsberger,

    My name is Jackson Brown and I have reached out before regarding this legislation. The most effective gun laws are ones geared around keeping firearms away from dangerous individuals. This legislation addresses suicide prevention, domestic violence and possibly the next mass shooter by allowing the court system to act expeditiously which will have an immediate impact on the gun violence we see in our state. Other states have been successful in passing similar legislation and I strongly urgent that this be move put of committee and allowed a house vote. All we are asking for is a vote.

    Thank you for all you do!

    Jackson Brown

  30. Dear Senator Brownsberger,

    I strongly urge you to support ERPO and I apologize for not reaching out sooner.

    The link between shootings and domestic violence is staggering and there is something we can do about it. As another concerned MA citizen stated, the most effective gun laws are ones geared around keeping firearms away from dangerous individuals. This legislation addresses suicide prevention, domestic violence and possibly the next mass shooter by allowing the court system to act expeditiously which will have an immediate impact on the gun violence we see in our state. Other states have been successful in passing similar legislation and I strongly urgent that this be move put of committee and allowed a house vote. All we are asking for is a vote.

    Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.

    Kind regards,
    Julie Sheehan

  31. Dear Senator Brownberger
    Please do all that you ccan to move ERPO out of committee and onto the house floor for a vote. I believe guns become lethal in the hands of the suicidal and the hands of the domestic violent and become the antithesis to needing a gun for self defense. The language of the law seems to have enough safeguards in it to protect the 2nd amendment rights.

    Thank you for listening.
    Nancy L Woron

  32. I’ll write very simply that I believe this is common sense legislation and I support your bill and your efforts. Keep up the good work.

  33. Dear Senator,
    I fully support The Extreme Risk Protection Order bill to allow relatives to remove firearms from their loved ones if they believe they are a danger to themselves or others. This is the kind of legislation that can begin to save lives. We can no longer sit idle while domestic situations turn deadly time and again. Thank you so much for your work.

  34. Thanks Senator Brownsberger for courageously sponsoring this life-saving legislation to establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) and disarm domestic abusers or those dangerously at risk of harming themselves. As the peer-reviewed Duke University study shows, this type of law effectively prevents gun deaths in neighboring Connecticut. Massachusetts would do well to pass such life-saving legislation. Your vital work to reduce gun violence and promote public health & safety is much appreciated!

  35. I agree with you that we need this mechanism in place. For someone who is suicidal I see it as no different than making sure there are no knives or drugs in the house. I believe the bill offers enough protection of the right to bear arms. The constitution doesn’t say it has to be easy and requesting a hearing does not seem to be an unreasonable bar.

  36. Dear Senator Brownsberger,

    As someone who has come close to losing both a brother and father to suicide, ERPO resonates very strongly with me.Gun suicides claim far more lives than any of form of gun death in the United States. Having the ability to temporarily remove a firearm from a person in crisis is beyond sensible, and it has shown to be an instigator for those people to seek treatment. I urge to to get this bill out of committee and onto the house floor! Thank you for your efforts on behalf of common sense gun safety laws.
    Alexandra Wolf

  37. Dear Senator Brownsburger:

    My sister Wendy committed suicide with a revolver that she owned. Simply knowing that a law such as the proposed legislation existed would have heightened the awareness of our family, and encouraged us to intervene. Furthermore, it would have given us the means to do so. A clear path in an emotionally fraught situation.

    I am a licensed gun owner and a military veteran (US Navy 1967 – 71). While I am proud to have done my part to preserve our freedoms and rights, I know firsthand the horrible cost of firearms in the wrong hands.

  38. Senator Brownsberger,

    Thank you for your support of H.3081. I also heard the powerful testimony in support of this bill at the hearing last summer, and I am convinced that it will save lives. Similar legislation has been shown to save lives in other states. Conversely, gun deaths could have been prevented in situations where this type of legal mechanism didn’t exist. MA has a history of enacting life-saving legislation such as this, giving us the lowest gun death rate in the nation. Let’s save even more lives. Again, thank you for your support of this important bill.

  39. I fully support your efforts to pass ERPO. We need common sense gun control in this state and in our country. This is a very good start. Please support this bill.

  40. I support ERPO bill for Massachusetts. Preventive measures such as this law will help save lives. Let’s keep guns out of the hands who shouldn’t own them, such as the mentally ill.
    Thank you.

  41. I’m in full support of this legislation. If it saves even one life, it will be worth it. We know suicide is much more likely when a gun is readily available and that domestic violence heightens the odds of a gun being used. If someone is showing strong enough signs of being at risk of causing harm to him or herself – so much so that a loved one or health professional has real cause for conxern – then this law would be nothing but helpful.

  42. Senator Brownsberger.
    Let’s not forget the Right to Live. I support your co-sponsorship of H.3081. Stay vigilant with your effort to pass the Extreme Risk Protective Orders. You are taking the “risk” away to save lives. Thank you!

  43. I want to thank you for being a strong voice for gun sense legislation. I fully support your cosponsorship of H3081. This will save lives!
    Thank you!

  44. I wholeheartedly support your co sponsorship of H 3081. Thank you for your leadership. We need your voice in Washington DC.

  45. Thank you for supporting ERPOs, Sen. Brownsberger. This is proven to save lives. Let’s get it out of committee. The time is ripe for it.

    As someone who suffers from depression and knows what it’s like to deal with suicidal thoughts, I know that when those thoughts hit you, you are certainly in a very emotional place and that makes you impulsive. I used to grab onto the thing closest to me. The worst thing around was scissors, and I’m still here today but with scars. If there was a gun in my drawer at the time, I might not be.

    Thank you for listening and for supporting this legislation.

  46. Dear Senator Brownsberger,
    Please do all you can to bring H3081 out from the committee to a vote. We can’t wait for the next incident before we act.

  47. Dear Senator Brownsberger,
    I applaud you for co-sponsoring H3081, the ERPO legislation in MA. The right of gun ownership comes with personal responsibility. If someone’s behavior indicates they are at extreme risk of harming themselves or others, their capacity for responsibility must be called into question. This legislation empowers family members and other responsible entities to do the right thing, even if temporarily, perhaps save the person’s life or the lives of innocent people. I do not believe the 2nd Amendment is a “free for all” — this bill keeps guns out of the hands of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others.

    Thank you for bringing this bill forward.

  48. Senator, thank your for co-sponsoring the Extreme Risk Protective Order. It’s obvious to me that we can both protect Second Amendment rights and address public safety concerns at the same time. We need to empower family and friends of individuals who need help so that they can intervene to prevent unnecessary tragedies. I appreciate your leadership on this issue.

  49. Thank you for supporting this legislation and helping people to protect their vulnerable loved ones.

  50. I strongly urge you to support Rep. Linsey’s bill for Extreme Risk Restraining Order. My 91 year old dad who is a WWII vet and a licensed gun owner is a prime example of why this legislation is necessary. As he has aged, he has faced mounting issues with finances, loss of connections due to death of many of his peers, memory loss and increasing medical issues. He and my 87 year old mom live alone and we their children, support them as much as possible. On numerous occasion he has made comments such as, “we are living too long, maybe we should end it now…”. We have been concerned that he may act impulsively to take his life and that of my mom. We have been able to support them through each crisis they have faced and with time, they have been able to return to a life that they enjoy. As our concerns around his depression and mental health increased, we took steps as a family to remove the firearms in his home. Had we not been successful in doing this ourselves, having a legal process to support the family would have been invaluable. When faced with a crisis and suicidal/homicidal thoughts arise, having access to firearms has been proven to increase the risk of death. Again, I strongly urge passage of this bill.

  51. Dear Senator Brownsberger,
    I wholeheartedly support this legislation. As a health care provider, I am concerned about the high rate of suicide. Suicide is an impulsive act committed during depressive episodes that may be temporary. Who better than a loved one to step in, protect a family member, and take away the means to ending a life. This bill should be taken out of committee (or whatever) and voted on. It will help to save lives.

    Thank you for your efforts,
    Kim Sheppard

  52. As a LICSW and Massachusetts citizen I believe that this bill is vitally important. Because of HIPPA laws families have so few tools to help their adult loved ones. This is an important start in bridging gap between harm to others and common sense interventions.

  53. I wholeheartedly support this bill. As a mother and a woman, this is an important step in protecting the rights of all citizens to feel safe and free in an open and democratic society. Your thoughtfulness and care in drafting this bill are very much appreciated. Thank you for this important and timely legislation!

  54. I support the passage of H. 3081. I am a mom, a taxpayer, and an educator. I believe that the money train from gun manufacturers to NRA leadership to legislators must be stopped. Lives will be saved and secondary trauma will be reduced by passage of this bill.

  55. I support the passage of H 3081. the high rate of suicide in veterans alone should be more than enough evidence to pass this bill.

    This bill can protect our citizens and loved ones.

  56. Because suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem, I support this legislation. I think it has the potential to save lives.

  57. Please vote in favor of H 3081. We know that 2/3 Rd dog the gun deaths in the United States are from suicides. If we can prevent even just one by removing a weapon then the bill has worked. People who want to help their love ones will have the means to do this. This is a public health issue.

  58. Thank you for co-sponsoring this common-sense bill. It’s hard for me to imagine why anyone would oppose such a simple and life-saving solution to the epidemic of suicide that is happening within our veteran community. I recently lost a dear friend who I met in the hospital when our daughters were fighting cancer in 2006. We both lost our daughters, but he was a marine and was sent on 5 tours in the Middle East. I’m still alive, but my friend suffered terribly from PTSD and took his own life with a gun in August this year. We must at least try to prevent this type of tragedy by removing guns from the hands of suicidal people AND increasing national investment in quality mental health care.

  59. Please vote in favor of H 3081. Let’s do something positive that will help our Veterans and others suffering from suicidal thoughts – this is common sense and the right thing to do!

  60. Dear Senator Brownsburger, I am deeply concerned about the proliferation of guns and the easy access to them, feeding violence that is often self-inflicted. We need more sensible gun legislation and more protection from self-inflicted violence. Thank you for sponsoring H.3081. I absolutely support it.

  61. I am a Massachusetts voter. I urge you to please support H.3081.

    All Constitutional rights are reasonably restricted. For example, Free Speech does not include the right to yell, “fire”, in a crowded theater where there is no fire. Opposition to H.3081 would mean the Second Amendment is accorded accommodation raising it above all other rights in the Constitution. This is absurd. In consequence of the extraordinary lethality of firearms, restrictions on this right, in this case empowering Massachusetts families and law enforcement to limit access to firearms by someone who poses a danger to themselves or others, is a reasonable restriction to insure public safety.

  62. Please support the passage of H.3081, and thank you for co-sponsoring this bill. I am hopeful to see our leaders in favor of common sense gun violence legislation.

  63. Please support H.3081. Supporting this bill is the same as supporting a bystander who witnesses grooming techniques of an adult and prevents child sexual abuse. The bill prevents deaths. When will we become a nation of prevention and not a nation of crisis, trauma and pain?

    Thank you for sponsoring this bill.

  64. Thank-you for co=sponsoring the Extreme Risk Legislation.

    I work in acute inpatient psychiatric settings were staff have discussed their concerns about the dangers of access to guns for many of our patients vis a vis concerns that an overly broad sweeping prohibition would prohibit gun use at all by people with any type of mental illness/commitment.

    Your legislation strikes a good balance.

  65. Thank you for co-sponsoring the Extreme Risk Legislation. It is important for the very reasons you point out: there is so much suicide by gun, particularly by former service members. Many might be reached and helped before ending their lives if the act can only be delayed. This isn’t a permanent restriction of rights and is in case of emergency only. This legislation strikes a fair balance and will save lives. Thank you again.

  66. I am very much in favor of this bill. This bill is simply common sense and will absolutely save lives. We are in dire need of sane gun legislation. Thank you.

  67. The only correct action on this bill is to support it wholeheartedly. Any person who,has had the devastating experience of being a part of a family where unintentional gun violence has occurred will tell you that it changes the life of a family forever in an instant.
    Please Senator, support this lifesaving bill.
    Thank you,
    Dianne Romanos,

  68. Approximately 20,000 people will successfully commit suicide this year with a firearm. As tragic as the death itself, many of these people did not want to dies. Suicide is typically an impulsive act and 9-out-of-ten people who attempt suicide and survive will not go on to die by suicide at a later date (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/survival/). Of course these numbers change when guns are readily available, since approximately 80% of suicide attempts by firearm are successful (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/case-fatality/). I hope that we’re able to move beyond the politics of the 2nd amendment and honor the sanctity of life by allowing relatives of actively suicidal people to take away their firearms.

  69. Thank you for supporting stronger gun control, and supporting H. 3081. We need our country back from the gun loving madness and the NRA.

  70. Dear Senator – I recently wrote to my State Representative, Paul Tucker, in support of this bill (H. 3081). I think that it is right for people to be concerned about overreach, but this bill does not overreach. Also, as you pointed out, there is a mechanism for individuals to get a hearing and have an order reversed. I support what you are trying to accomplish and thank you for your work and thoughtfulness on this subject.

  71. Please help get this important bill passed. Too many people who shouldn’t have access to guns do even in Massachusetts. This bill can help prevent suicides homicides and injury. Thank you for your efforts

  72. I met my husband after his brother had committed suicide. The brother had announced he was going to kill himself. With this bill in place, maybe he’d be around to have Thanksgiving with us.
    We need our country back from the NRA.


  73. Senator Brownsberger-

    The man who shot and killed my sister Shannon in 1994, at Planned Parenthood, purchased his assault rifle legally in New Hampshire. At trial, his parents testified about all of the erratic behavior he had been displaying beforehand. They testified about outbursts in church, his belief that Catholics weren’t doing enough, and his anger towards those involved with abortion. What if NH had an ERPO law at the time? What if his parents could have removed his assault rifle protecting their son, my sister, and 6 other families from his actions? It has been clear to me for a long time that “what ifs” won’t help Shannon or my family, but they may help someone else’s. Families know when their loved ones are struggling and that they possess firearms. As a Marshfield resident I ask that you please continue to support ERPO legislation to allow all families the opportunity to protect their loved ones and keep them safe. – Liam Lowney



  76. ERPO – Or how Massachusetts progressives want to take another step closer to Socialism.

    Let’s take guns out of the equation for a minute and think about this without all the political drama. Let’s instead talk about the absolutely failure of the Government and law enforcement to heed the warning signs and criminal behavior that let a dangerous person remain on the streets.

    If a person is legally adjudicated through due process to be a violent threat to themselves or others they need to be removed from the public. Period. If they have committed a crime they will be charged, tried and convicted through the judicial system. If deemed mentally dangerous by the courts they must be hospitalized and provided qualified medical treatment until they are deemed no longer a threat.

    We should not allow dangerous people to be put back on the street where they can choose an unlimited number of means to harm others. That is the issue the Legislature should be looking to solve – not using another tragic event to promote a socialist agenda to strip law abiding citizens of more rights.

    Repeated studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of violent crimes homicides and are not by guns but be other common means. Mothers kill on average 250 children a year vs. under 25 children killed by school shootings. Ten times as many! Counting either parent it is about 450 child murders per year. Where is the outrage? Where are the politicians on this crisis? Crickets.

    When (if) a criminal is put in prison through the judicial process, there they remain until their time has been served and are hopefully no longer a threat to society. We as a society need to take just as seriously our role to protect the dangerously mentally ill from themselves and others, but it must be done thoughtfully, properly and with all the necessary safeguards so that innocent people are not falsely stripped of their rights.

    The end does NOT justify the means. The “if it can save one life therefore we must bypass due process to confiscate guns” spiel is a false narrative and needs to stop. You can make that sad cry for everything from alcohol, cigarettes, automobiles, kitchen knives, baseball bats and golf clubs or pointy pencils – NONE of which are Constitutionally protected and essential to keeping America a free society. It is why America has not (yet) become another socialist Venezuela, communist China, or African dictatorship.

    The State should not be focused on removing any Constitutional right without the due process where both parties can present their cases for a judge or jury to decide. The State should however, remove a clearly dangerous person from the public domain for a limited time so they can be treated or tried accordingly.

    Studies have also shown that cases of false accusations to incarcerate innocent people by spiteful domestic acquaintances, overzealous sometimes racially biased law enforcement, vindictive politicians or otherwise hateful individuals are far too common. This is why due process must be followed – at all times.

    In MA especially these false claims are extremely costly for the accused in terms of legal representation, loss of employment or wages, confiscation of personal property and elimination of legal rights. Most often the person who’s second amendment rights were falsely stripped spends many tens of thousands of dollars to regain those rights and almost never is able to reclaim their (stolen) property due to excessive State controlled warehouse fees.

    Further, there needs to be harsh legal and monetary consequences for making false accusations aimed at using law enforcement and our judicial system to carry out vindictive personal attacks. Not addressing this abuse is just as important as assuring that the rights of innocent individuals not be so casually stripped in the first place.

  77. Please stop furthur attacks on law abiding citizens. Every time there is an incident all gun owners take the hit wheras they werent at the places of violence.We need more focus on a undocumented criminal. They dont follow gun laws or any for that meaning.

  78. I wish that someday we can track criminals like we do for sex offenders.It would be a better world instead of laws that strike the law abiding citizen from self protection of house and family. I think any laws are illegal according to our Amendments.

  79. I am thrilled to hear the passage of this bill. I think it is important for people to know they can help their loved ones in times of need. Keep up the good (hard) work.

  80. Excellent – thanks.


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