Concerned That ERPO – “Red Flag” Legislation May Endanger Citizens and Police Officers
May 9, 2018
BOSTON – Within the past weeks, two Police Chiefs Associations have publicly backed “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) bills that are cruel and dangerous to those suffering mental illness, as they provide no services or benefits. These bills are now being referred to as “Red Flag” bills. Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) has publicly expressed deep reservations about these bills and is terribly disappointed in the two Associations for backing the ill-conceived legislation.
“It is beyond me why the rank and file police officers in our cities and towns are not speaking up about this,” said Jim Wallace, Executive Director of GOAL. “We hear news cycle after news cycle about a citizen or law enforcement officer being murdered by a killer that was previously in custody and released. However, the Chiefs of Police Associations are now supporting legislation that will enable an individual deemed an extreme public risk to walk free and potentially cause tremendous harm to law enforcement and the public.”
The two reasons given for the legislation are to prevent suicides and to identify and prevent the next monster that may kill our children; unfortunately the current ERPO bill does neither.
For allegedly preventing suicides, the bill treats people going through a temporary crisis very cruelly. Under the current bill, if a person is suffering from a temporary mental health crisis this bill drags them through a court process, takes away their dignity and their civil rights and sends them home with little or no service to get the help they need. There is no counseling or follow up services offered. Since the vast majority of suicides in Massachusetts do not involve a gun, these people are at an extreme risk to commit suicide by other means.
As for attempting to identify the next psychotic killer; the current bill only takes their “legal” guns away and sets them free upon society. As we have seen play out, those bent on destruction, if set loose on society, have the ability to commit violence using knives, vehicles, pipe-bombs, pressure cookers, and any other means conceivable. This is simply the continuation of the cycle of catch and release killers that are already costing lives.
GOAL is calling on these associations to publicly withdraw their support of the current ERPO bills that treat innocent people cruelly and set potential killers loose on society. We ask them to join GOAL in supporting much more compassionate and comprehensive language that will help those that can be helped and commit those that simply can’t be.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health report reflect that in the Commonwealth 93% of women and 78% of men who commit suicide do not use a gun.