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. In a strong show of voter support, 32 of the state’s 39 counties voted in favor of ERPO. The law took effect on Dec. 6, 2016.
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.
These videos, featuring experienced ERPO implementers sharing best practices and insights from King County, can help those implementing ERPO laws in other states across the country:
- Lessons from Washington State featuring Kim Wyatt, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit
- Why is ERPO Important to the State? featuring Sandra Shanahan, Program Manager, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit
- Preparing for ERPO Implementation featuring Carol Cummings, Chief, Bothell Police Department
- Working on the Frontlines of Implementation featuring Rita Hagan, Paralegal, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit
- Assisting Family Members Seeking an ERPO featuring Lorinda Tsai, Firearms Advocate, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit
- Collaborating Across the System featuring Anne Levinson, Judge (ret.)