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DOJ Opens Risk Protection Resource Unit To Help Use 'Red Flag' Laws

The U.S. Justice Department launched a National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center, which will provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement officials, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, clinicians, victim service and social service providers, community organizations, and behavioral health professionals responsible for implementing laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to themselves or others, DOJ says. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “The establishment of the Center is the latest example of the Justice Department’s work to use every tool provided by the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to protect communities from gun violence.” ERPO laws, which are modeled from domestic violence protection orders, create a civil process allowing law enforcement, family members (in most states), and medical professionals or other groups (in some states) for court orders to prohibit someone at risk of harming themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms for the duration of the order.


In 2023, the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) awarded $238 million to states, territories, and the District of Columbia under the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) to help jurisdictions implement crisis intervention strategies, including ERPO programs. In addition, OJP awarded $4 million to support training and technical assistance, including $2 million to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions to establish the ERPO Resource Center. In collaboration with OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the center will support states, local governments, law enforcement, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, clinicians, victim service providers, and behavioral health and other social service providers to implement ERPO programs to fit local needs, share resources and promising practices with the field. “Supporting our law enforcement and community partners in curbing the scourge of gun violence is more critical than ever,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer. “In addition to other resources leveraged across the Justice Department, this Center will provide communities with new tools and technical assistance to help them implement effective crisis intervention strategies and reduce gun violence.”

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