Opinion: Extreme risk protection orders are a common sense way to protect communities


EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The terrible shooting in Parkland, Florida shooting could have been avoided. We now know that both local law enforcement and the FBI were tipped off about the threat posed by the accused murderer, Nikolas Cruz.

One provision of the Trump administration’s proposals on school safety and guns might have stopped the killing before it started.

A problem right now is that, in most states, no matter the threat, unless someone has committed a crime they have the legal right to own and keep their guns.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders, ERPOs, change that. ERPOs are court orders which allow for law enforcement to remove guns from someone who is a threat to himself or to others.

So, if the police believe that a person who legally owns a gun or guns could harm himself or those around him, and a court agrees, the guns can be taken away. That individual would also be prohibited from buying a gun while the Risk Protection Order is in place.

In the Parkland case, Nikolas Cruz should have been stripped of his guns because of his mental history, behavior and threatening statements.

Right now, only five states currently have some version of ERPO laws and regulations. President Trump is calling on all states to enact them and for the federal Department of Justice to help put these measures in place.

Here is the bottom line: Extreme Risk Protection Orders are a common-sense way to disarm those who are likely to commit horrible crimes. The White House is supporting the policy, but it is up to the states to pass these measures as quickly as possible.

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