Extreme Risk Protection Orders
What are Extreme Risk Protection Orders?
Minnesota law will allow certain people starting Jan. 1, 2024, to request an order from the court to temporarily prohibit someone from purchasing or possessing a firearm during a period of crisis when they are at risk of harming themselves or someone else. This type of order is called an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). An ERPO directs a person to surrender their firearms and prevents a person from purchasing firearms while the ERPO is in effect.
Although the term is not used in the Minnesota law, laws that authorize these types of orders are often called “red flag” laws. An ERPO may be issued if a person poses a significant danger of bodily harm to others or is at significant risk of suicide if they possess a firearm.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.
When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, they often exhibit clear warning signs. Family members and law enforcement are usually the first people to see these signs. But, in too many cases, they have few tools to take preventative action despite picking up on the signs.
Extreme Risk Protection Order 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.
There are two types of ERPOs: emergency ERPOs and long-term ERPOs. If a judicial officer grants an emergency ERPO, it goes into effect right away and lasts for 14 days. A long-term ERPO can only be granted after a court hearing. A long-term ERPO lasts between six months and one year.
Information for the public
The information below addresses frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ERPOS.
- How can I file an ERPO petition?
- Forms, including the ERPO petition and instructions for filing, will be available on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
- If you are the person asking for an ERPO, you are called the “petitioner” in the case, and the other party is called the “respondent.”
- You can start an ERPO case in the district court of the county where the respondent lives. As a petitioner, you may also request that the court allow you to appear virtually at all proceedings. You will be expected to put detailed information in the petition explaining why the respondent is a danger to other persons or is at significant risk of suicide by possessing a firearm.
- If a hearing is scheduled, you will have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses the risks listed in your petition if they possess a firearm.
- Who can file an ERPO petition?
- A family or household member, a chief law enforcement officer, a city or county attorney, or a guardian (as defined by Minnesota Statute) can file a petition.
Family or household members means:
- Spouses and former spouses of the respondent
- Parents and children of the respondent
- Persons who are presently residing with the respondent
- A person involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship with the respondent.
In determining whether persons are in a significant romantic or sexual relationship under clause (4), the court shall consider the length of time of the relationship; type of relationship; and frequency of interaction between the partiess.
- Is there a filing fee?
- What are the criteria for filing an ERPO petition?
- If a person poses a significant risk of bodily harm to others and/or is at significant risk of suicide if they possess a firearm, a chief law enforcement officer, city or county attorney, or the person’s family or household members or guardian (as defined by Minnesota Statute) may petition the court for an ERPO.
- Can I keep my address or any part of this case confidential?
- Court files are generally open to the public, with some exceptions. You may ask that your address be kept confidential for this specific court case.
- How do I respond if an ERPO is filed against me?
- If you are served with a petition or ERPO, you may request a hearing if one is not already scheduled. If a hearing has been scheduled and you were given fewer than five days’ notice of the hearing, you can request a continuance.
- Forms for requesting a hearing or a continuance of a hearing, along with instructions, are available on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website.
If you are curious about whether an ERPO is the best way to handle your situation, your first step is to contact your local law enforcement agency; a police or sheriff's department is a good place to start.
You can also reach out to a private attorney, your county attorney's office or local community resources.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch website has information about the Statewide Self-Help Center, along with local Self-Help Centers that can help you find helpful information, services and resources about your legal problem if you are not represented by an attorney in a Minnesota District Court case. Visit the Self-Help Centers Help Topic for more information.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline — Call 988
The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.
- Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline — Call 866-223-1111
Whether you’re experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or sexual violence, human trafficking or simply questioning aspects of your relationship, advocates are available 24/7 to listen and give information and resources.
- Veterans suicide crisis line — Call 800-273-8255 and press 1
The Veterans Crisis Line is the world's largest provider of crisis call, text, and chat services, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It serves more than 650,000 calls every year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Users also may text to 838255 or chat online to receive confidential crisis intervention and support.
Information for mental health professionals
When a mental health professional has a statutory duty to warn another of a client's serious threat of physically violent behavior or determines that a client presents a significant risk of suicide by possessing a firearm, the mental health professional must communicate the threat or risk to the sheriff of the county where the client resides and make a recommendation to the sheriff regarding the client's fitness to possess firearms.
"Mental health professional" has the meaning given in Minnesota Statute 245I.02, Subdivision 27
Information for law enforcement
- What does the ERPO law mean for law enforcement?
The new ERPO law will allow the court to issue ERPOs prohibiting the subject of the order from possessing or purchasing firearms while the order is in effect. The process to obtain an ERPO closely mirrors the processes to obtain orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. These orders will be available to law enforcement as part of the Minnesota hot files.