NASW WI calls upon the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass LRB 3007, a bill
establishing an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) procedure for Wisconsin and
LRB 2751, requiring that all gun transfers go through a federally licensed gun dealer.
An Extreme Risk Protection Ordinance would allow family members, household
members and law enforcement officials to petition a court to take a gun out of a home
for up to a year from someone who is a danger to him/herself or others. Nineteen states
and the District of Columbia have passed such legislation.
Extreme Risk Protection Orders have been shown to reduce suicides. Research
conducted by Dr. Aaron Kivisto and Peter Lee Phalen showed a reduction in suicides as
a result of the passage of Extreme Risk Protection Ordinances in the two states who
have had the law the longest-Indiana and Connecticut.
ERPO bills are needed to prevent suicide because 90% of suicide attempts using a gun
are fatal, compared to 5% of most common alternative methods. Suicide acts are often
impulsive and fleeting and thus preventing access to a gun at that moment can save
lives. In addition an intervention at that point, often leads to getting an individual into
mental health treatment.
Wisconsin’s suicide rate is higher than the national average. If we are truly committed
as a state to reducing our suicide rate during this Suicide Awareness Month, we need to
implement all policies that have been shown to be successful, including an Extreme
Risk Protection Ordinance.
Requiring all gun transfers to go through a federally licensed gun dealer will also save
lives. Currently individuals who would never pass a background check can purchase a
gun through a gun show or over the Internet. In the ten years following Connecticut’s
passage of its law requiring a permit and background check on all handgun sales,
firearm homicides declined by 40%.