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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Statutes: Massachusetts

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December 14, 2023

§ 131R. Extreme risk protection orders; petitions

(a) A petitioner who believes that a person holding a license to carry firearms or a firearm identification card may pose a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others may, on a form furnished by the court and signed under the pains and penalties of perjury, file a petition in court.

(b) A petition filed pursuant to this section shall:

(i) state any relevant facts supporting the petition;

(ii) identify the reasons why the petitioner believes that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by having in the respondent’s control, ownership or possession a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, weapon or ammunition;

(iii) identify the number, types and locations of any firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, weapons or ammunition the petitioner believes to be in the respondent’s current control, ownership or possession;

(iv) identify whether there is an abuse prevention order pursuant to chapter 209A, a harassment prevention order pursuant to chapter 258E or an order similar to an abuse prevention or harassment prevention order issued by another jurisdiction in effect against the respondent; and

(v) identify whether there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition or other legal action between the parties to the petition.

(c) No fees for filing or service of process may be charged by a court or any public agency to a petitioner filing a petition pursuant to this section.

(d) The petitioner’s residential address, residential telephone number and workplace name, address and telephone number, contained within the records of the court related to a petition shall be confidential and withheld from public inspection, except by order of the court; provided, however, that the petitioner’s residential address and workplace address shall appear on the court order and shall be accessible to the respondent and the respondent’s attorney unless the petitioner specifically requests, and the court orders, that this information be withheld from the order. All confidential portions of the records shall be accessible at all reasonable times to the petitioner and the petitioner’s attorney, the licensing authority of the municipality where the respondent resides and to law enforcement officers, if such access is necessary in the performance of their official duties. Such confidential portions of the court records shall not be deemed to be public records under the provisions of clause twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4.

(e) The court may order that any information in the petition or case record be impounded in accordance with court rule.

(f) Upon receipt of a petition under this section and if the petitioner is a family or household member as defined in section 121, the clerk of the court shall provide to the petitioner and respondent informational resources about: (i) crisis intervention; (ii) mental health; (iii) substance use disorders; (iv) counseling services; and (v) the process to apply for a temporary commitment under section 12 of chapter 123.