MADISON, Wisconsin – The Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded the announcement from Gov. Tony Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Rep. Melissa Sargent and Senator Lena Taylor that there will soon be an introduction of Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation, also known as Red Flag legislation, that would permit immediate family members and law enforcement officers to petition a court for an order temporarily removing guns from people who are at risk of harming themselves or others.
“When someone is in crisis, easy access to guns can be deadly,” said Heather Driscoll, a volunteer with Wisconsin Moms Demand Action whose father died by firearm suicide. “Family members and police officers can be the first people to spot warning signs when someone poses an extreme risk, and these laws create a way for them to temporarily remove guns from the picture and prevent a tragedy. More and more states are recognizing that Extreme Risk laws save lives, including from gun suicide, and it’s past time for Wisconsin to join them.”
RED FLAG OR EXTREME RISK LAWS
Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation, also known as Red Flag laws, gained traction in the wake of the Parkland shooting in 2018, when 14 students and three staff members were shot and killed. Just five states had enacted these laws at the time of the Parkland shooting; today, 17 states and the District of Columbia have enacted them.
More information about these laws — including their robust due-process protections — is available here.
Firearm suicide is a significant public health crisis in the US, including in Wisconsin.
Among commonly used methods of self-harm, firearms are by far the most lethal, with a fatality rate of approximately 85 percent. Conversely, less than 5 percent of people who attempt suicide using other methods die, and the vast majority of all those who survive do not go on to die by suicide.
Following Connecticut’s increased enforcement of its Extreme Risk law, one study found the law to be associated with a 14 percent reduction in the state’s firearm suicide rate. In Indiana, in the 10 years after the state passed its Extreme Risk law in 2005, the state’s firearm suicide rate decreased by 7.5 percent. More information about Extreme Risk laws and suicide is available here.
Case studies are available here on more than two dozen uses of Extreme Risks laws, including orders granted amid evidence that someone posed a suicide risk.