U-M expert on state’s new Extreme Risk Protection Order/red flag law

May 22, 2023

With Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signing of the third piece of firearms safety legislation into law Monday, Michigan joins Washington, D.C. and 20 other states that are turning to extreme risk protection orders to prevent violence and deaths by firearms.

Last month, Michigan signed expanded background checks for gun purchasers and safe storage requirements into law. All three laws go into effect in the spring of 2024.

“The laws that were passed are a good start to reducing firearms deaths in Michigan,” said April Zeoli, policy core director for U-M’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention.

Zeoli, also an associate professor of health management and policy at U-M’s School of Public Health, attended the bill signing.

Patrick Carter, co-director of the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention and associate professor, emergency medicine, also attended the bill signing.

“Research suggests that the extreme risk protection order law that was enacted today will save lives through enabling people to have guns removed from their loved ones’ possession when they are at risk for suicide or harming others,” Zeoli said. “It will allow law enforcement to remove guns from someone who makes a credible threat of a mass shooting. It will keep people safer from gun violence.”

Zeoli, who also serves as the research expert for the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center, has researched red flag laws, or ERPOs, in six states and says the evidence points to prevented injuries or deaths, whether suicide, domestic violence or plans to use a gun to cause a harm to multiple people.