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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

How do I get an extreme risk protection order?

The steps to get an extreme risk protective order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order, but you will fill out different forms.

Your petition should include:

  • the facts that you believe support your request for an extreme risk protection order;
  • the reason you think the respondent is at risk of causing bodily injury to himself/herself or others by having a firearm;
  • the number, types, and locations of any firearms, rifles, guns, weapons, and ammunition you believe are in the respondent’s current control, ownership, or possession;
  • whether there is an abuse prevention order, a harassment prevention order, or any similar type of order in another state that is in effect against the respondent; and
  • whether there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition, or other legal action between you and the respondent.1

1 MA ST 140 § 131R(b)

How will a judge make a decision about whether or not to grant the order?

A judge can issue an emergency order or a final order against a respondent if the judge believes that s/he poses a risk of causing harm to himself/herself or another person by having any of the following in his/her possession:

  • a license to carry firearms;
  • a firearm identification card; or
  • a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, weapon or ammunition.1

1 MA ST 140 §§ 131T(a); 131S(c)

Can I renew an extreme risk protection order?

The court will notify the person who filed the initial petition at least 30 days before the order expires. If a petition to renew the order is filed before the final order expires, the judge can renew the extreme risk protection order for up to one year.1

1 MA ST 140 § 131S(d)

What happens if the respondent violates the order?

Violating an extreme risk protection order is a crime. If the respondent violates the terms of an extreme risk protection order, s/he could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $5,000; go to jail for up to two and a half years; or both.1

1 MA ST 140 § 131S(f)