Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) and the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 2377, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. McBath is the lead sponsor of the bill, which would allow family members and law enforcement to obtain an extreme risk protection order to temporarily remove access to firearms for those who are deemed a danger to themselves or to others by a federal court. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently have extreme risk protection orders in place, and this legislation would set a national standard to save lives. McBath delivered remarks in favor of her bill at the start of the hearing.
“Nearly nine years ago, I lost my son Jordan to gun violence. He was just 17 years old. I dreamed of one day seeing him walk across the stage at his high school graduation, or walk down the aisle at his wedding,” said McBath. “I received the call that far too many families in our nation receive, and every day have felt a pain that will never fade. Far too many parents know exactly that pain. I turned that pain into action, calling for change to prevent another parent from losing their child to gun violence. It is our responsibility to prevent this suffering, to bring an end to this constant heartbreak. With this bill and its passage today, we act to help those in crisis. We act to empower law enforcement. We act to prevent the vigils for the loved ones we’ve lost.”
Extreme risk laws empower loved ones or law enforcement to intervene and temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms. These laws, sometimes referred to as “red flag” laws, can help de-escalate emergency situations. They are a proven way to intervene before an incident of gun violence—such as a firearm suicide or mass shooting—occurs and takes more lives.
According to an Everytown report, in 51 percent of mass shootings from 2009 to 2017, the attacker exhibited warning signs before the shooting. For example, before killing six people in Isla Vista, California in May 2014, the shooter made homicidal and suicidal threats, and his parents alerted law enforcement. But there was nothing they could legally do to remove his firearms. On suicide prevention, research shows that access to a firearm triples one’s risk of death by suicide. Across all suicide attempts not involving a firearm, 4 percent result in death. But for gun suicide, those statistics are flipped: Approximately 90 percent of gun suicide attempts end in death. The vast majority of survivors of a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide.
In April of this year, McBath stood with President Joe Biden at a Rose Garden announcement about red flag laws. Immediately following the White House event, McBath introduced H.R. 2377.