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Know the Laws: Washington

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

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A gun violence restraining order temporarily restricts a respondent's access to guns in certain situations to protect him/her and others.

Basic info

back to topWhat is an extreme risk protection order?

An extreme risk protection order is a civil court order prohibiting an individual (called the respondent) from controlling, purchasing, possessing, or receiving firearms or ammunition.  Extreme risk protection orders are used to prevent the respondent from using a firearm to harm himself/herself or others.*

* Wash. Code § 7.94.010(1)

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back to topWho can file for an extreme risk protection order?

You can file for an extreme risk protection order if you are the respondent’s family or household member or a law enforcement officer or agency.*  You are considered a member of the respondent’s family or household if you and the respondent are:

  • related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
  • dating partners;
  • parents to the same child regardless of whether you were married to the respondent or lived with the respondent at any time;
  • living together, or have lived together within the past year;
  • domestic partners;
  • in a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including step-parents and step-children and grandparents and grandchildren; or
  • in a legal guardian relationship – in other words, where you are or were the respondent’s legal guardian.**

* Wash. Code § 7.94.030(1)
** Wash. Code § 7.94.020(2)

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back to topWhat types of orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of extreme risk protection orders: ex parte extreme risk protection orders and extreme risk protection orders issued after a hearing. 

Ex parte extreme risk protection orders: The judge will issue an ex parte extreme risk protection restraining order if s/he believes that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or others in the near future by having, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.*  The respondent does not need to be in the courtroom or have notice of the case for you to get an ex parte order.  You may just have to swear to the truth of your statements in court.  An ex parte extreme risk protection order lasts for up to 14 days until the next court hearing.**

Extreme risk protection orders issued after hearing: A longer-term extreme risk protection order can be issued after the respondent receives notice and has the opportunity to be present for a hearing in court.  At the hearing, the judge will decide if the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or others by having, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.  An extreme risk protection order issued after a hearing will last for a period of one year.***

Note: The respondent can request a hearing to end the extreme risk protection order once every 12 months.***

* Wash. Code § 7.94.050(3)
** Wash. Code § 7.94.050(5)
*** Wash. Code § 7.94.040(d)(2)
*** Wash. Code § 7.94.040(7)(g)

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