To the Editor:
Pennsylvania has the opportunity to join 13 other states that have passed extreme risk protection order laws that save lives.
Sen. Tom Killion, a Republican from Delaware and Chester counties, has introduced an ERPO bill in the Pennsylvania Senate. SB 90 provides a way for a person to seek a court order to temporarily remove firearms from a family member whom evidence shows is a danger to himself or others. This bill establishes a judicial process to suspend, temporarily, a person’s right to possess or purchase a firearm.
ERPOs address a serious public health crisis. Access to a firearm increases the risk of suicide three times. Nearly 66 percent of all gun deaths in America are suicide. A July 2018 CDC report found Pennsylvania’s average firearm suicide rate over five years exceeded the national average.
The Parkland school shooting is just one recent example in which family contacted law enforcement regarding the shooter’s behavior prior to the killings. Florida now has an ERPO law.
An ERPO is a reasonable response to what is often a temporary crisis, protecting both the gun owner and third parties. It preserves the gun owner’s right to recover his firearms once the crisis passes. Connecticut saw a 14 percent reduction in its firearm suicide rate following increased enforcement of its ERPO law.
Please contact your state senator and ask her or him to co-sponsor and vote yes on SB 90.
— Jaime Bedard, Wyndmoor, member of the Philadelphia area chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America