In Vermont, an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is a civil order that temporarily prohibits a person at risk of causing harm to self or others from purchasing or possessing any dangerous weapons, including firearms. There are two types of ERPOs: an ex parte ERPO, which lasts up to fourteen days, and a final ERPO, which is issued after notice to the respondent and a hearing and lasts up to six months, unless renewed pursuant to the law.  A State’s Attorney or the Office of the Vermont Attorney General may file an ERPO petition.

When the court issues an ERPO—ex parte or final—the respondent must relinquish any firearms in their possession to law enforcement, a federally licensed firearms dealer, or, if ordered by the court, a third party. All other dangerous weapons must be relinquished to law enforcement.

Vermont’s ERPO law, like other Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, includes due process protections to ensure fairness. Due process protections in Vermont’s ERPO law include ex parte ERPOs issued by judicial officers; a post-deprivation hearing where the respondent is provided notice and an opportunity to participate; and the requirement of substantial and credible evidence (e.g. the enumerated factors the judicial officer must consider) to issue an ERPO.

Explore the following resources to learn more about Vermont’s ERPO law:

Background: Governor Phil Scott signed Vermont’s Extreme Risk Protection Order Act into law on April 11, 2018. The law went into effect on the same day it was signed.

Senator Richard Sears introduced the bill in January 2018 (the first day of Vermont’s 2018 session), but like a number of other states’ ERPO bills, the legislation gained momentum following the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.