Colorado’s ERPO: Addressing a Public Health Crisis

Colorado’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) HB19-1177 has been portrayed as a controversial bill, but after listening to the experts who crafted the bill, I feel more confident advocating for this common-sense gun legislation that will take us past simply thoughts and prayers.

The Colorado Springs Dems hosted an information session and discussion with Katie March, the Colorado House of Representatives Senior Advisor to the Majority Leader, presenting for Representative Alec Garnett (who wrote and sponsored the bill), and Dr. Erik Wallace, University of Colorado School of Medicine, who presented on public health data about gun-related violence and death.

Here’s some information I learned about the ERPO:

  • The only people who can submit an ERPO are household/family members or law enforcement.
  • Throughout the ERPO, the burden of proof is on the Petitioner (the person submitting the claim) – NOT on the Respondent (the person who the claim is filed against). The only time the burden of proof is on the Respondent, is if they want to demonstrate they are no longer a risk to themselves or others before the natural end of the ERPO (364 days).
  • Fourteen states (and D.C.) have enacted bipartisan ERPO laws, they are relatively new, so data is still limited.

“In a recent statewide survey, 87% of Coloradans support ERPOs, including 78% of Trump voters.” (Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, 2019)

So there’s that!

Shockingly, most gun deaths are overwhelmingly suicides, and Colorado has a SERIOUS problem.

  • In Colorado, 76% of gun deaths are suicides; compared to 60% nationally.
  • A gun is used in half of all suicide attempts.
  • Making a suicide attempt with a gun has an 85% chance of ending the person’s life, whereas attempting to take one’s life using pills is around 2% effective.
  • The argument that ‘people should be allowed to commit suicide if they want to’ isn’t supported by the data… only one in ten survivors of a suicide attempt will take their life (or attempt to) in the future.

An ERPO can help. This law (signed by Governor Polis on 04/12/19) is a valid attempt to save lives in a Constitutional and data-informed manner. I look forward to seeing more data and models to help us move forward in making even better decisions in the future.

BUT, this presentation also made it shockingly clear how much we need to address our access to high-quality, affordable healthcare – including, and especially, mental health. We need to address systemic issues that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and despair, and enact legislation that will ease economic suffering. We can work to ensure everyone has a stable home, people are paid a living wage, and our public education and family support systems are robust and extensive. Investing in Coloradans will invigorate the economy and create healthier and stronger citizens.

As a candidate for Colorado’s Senate District 10, in the heart of Colorado Springs, I stand with you to ensure that we push Colorado’s politics in the direction of supporting public health and well-being. I will stand for our families, for the future of our children, and for the health of this beautiful state. Let’s move Colorado forward together!

In solidarity,

~Randi

Many thanks to the C Springs Dems and Moms Demand Action for the wonderful event!

Please support this grassroots campaign with a donation! Every donor counts!

Images of the handouts from the event are below.

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