Law enforcement and family members are authorized to petition for ERPOs in Washington.
The King County District Attorney’s Office developed a unit that specializes in ERPO implementation. Trained staff provide support to law enforcement and civilians petitioning for ERPOs and guide them through the different stages of the petition process.
Explore the following resources to learn more about Washington’s ERPO law:
- Extreme Risk Protection Order Process in Washington
- Extreme Risk Protection Order & Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment: How do they differ?
- Extreme Risk Protection Order & Domestic Violence Order for Protection: How do they differ?
- Washington Courts Resources
Background: Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law passed by ballot initiative in 2016 [SF1]. In a strong show of voter support, 32 of the state’s 39 counties voted in favor of ERPO. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Washington’s ERPO law coincided with the efforts of several agencies and organizations to more fully implement the state’s Domestic Violence Orders for Protection (DVOPs) that prohibit respondents from purchasing and possessing firearms. This commitment to ensuring that people who are violent in the home are temporarily dispossessed of their firearms per state law provided an infrastructure and the momentum for realizing EPRO implementation.
In 2019, Washington lawmakers amended the ERPO law to include “malicious harassment” when considering whether to issue an ERPO. The amendment broadens the criteria set forth in the initial law to include hate-specific behaviors. Washington has the only ERPO law in the country to include hate as part of the criteria for issuing an ERPO. A second amendment passed in 2019 makes explicit that ERPOs apply to people under 18 years of age.