Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

An Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is an order from a judge that suspends a person’s license to possess or carry a gun. A petition can be filed by a family or household member or the police department of the city or town where the respondent lives.

Boston Municipal Court Department and District Court Department

The Details of Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

What you need for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

To request an ERPO, you must first fill out a Petition for Extreme Risk Protection Order (FS-1). You should provide as much information as possible regarding the specific statements, actions, or facts that show the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to themself or others by having in their possession firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, stun guns, or ammunition and a license to possess or carry guns. You should also provide as much information as possible regarding the number of firearms the respondent has access to, and the location of those firearms. If necessary, provide any paperwork that will help the judge decide whether to issue an order.

In addition to the petition, you must also fill out:

The information provided on the Petitioner Confidential Information form will be used to provide notifications regarding any changes or modifications to the ERPO. It may also be provided to the police should they need further information to serve the order on the respondent. Otherwise, the information contained within the Petitioner Confidential Information form is not available for public inspection. Except for your residential and workplace address, the information is also not provided to the respondent, although you may ask the court to withhold that address information from the respondent as well. If you have a good reason why any other information provided should not be available to the public, you must file a Motion for Impoundment.

The information in the Respondent Information form will be helpful to the police who must serve the order on the respondent.

All ERPO forms are also available in all District Court and Boston Municipal Court (BMC) clerk’s offices.

How to request Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

If you're seeking an order during court business hours, you should file a petition in the clerk’s office in the District Court location or BMC location that has jurisdiction over the city or town where the respondent lives.

If you're seeking an order during non-court business hours, you should go to the police station in the city or town in which the respondent lives and inform the police that you would like to file a petition for an ERPO. If you're unable to go to the police station in the city or town in which the
respondent resides, you should go to the closest police station.

Next steps for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

  1. Hearing before a judge

    Emergency orders (after court hours)

    A police officer will call an “on-call” judge and inform the judge that you are seeking an Emergency ERPO. The police officer will read your petition to the judge over the phone, or the judge may ask that you read the petition over the phone. The judge may also ask you questions.

    If the judge issues an Emergency ERPO, the order is temporary and will only be in effect until the end of the next court day, when court closes for business at 4:30 p.m.

    The judge will direct a police officer in the city or town in which the respondent lives to serve the order to the respondent. If you wish that the order be in effect longer than the end of the next court day, you must go to the court having jurisdiction over the city or town where the respondent lives at 9:00 a.m. and tell the clerk’s office that an on-call judge issued an Emergency ERPO during non-court hours that you would like to have extended. If the police have already provided the petition that you submitted at the police station to the clerk, you will not have to fill out a new petition for the judge’s consideration  if they have not, you will need to fill out a new petition and new information forms.

    During court hours

    You will be instructed to appear before a judge. You should not leave the courthouse until you have appeared in front of a judge and the judge has ruled on your petition. A judge may not review and rule on your petition unless you are in the courthouse. If the judge allows your petition, an Emergency ERPO will issue and will be in effect for up to 10 days. The judge will direct a law enforcement officer to serve a copy of the order on the respondent.

  2. Hearing after notice

    If the judge issues an Emergency Order in court, the judge will schedule a hearing at which the respondent has a right to be present with or without a lawyer. Even if the judge does not issue an emergency order, but thinks that a hearing is necessary, he or she can still schedule a hearing with notice to the respondent. This hearing will take place within 10 days of the filing of the petition.

    You, and your attorney, if you decide to be represented by one, should come to this hearing, regardless of whether the respondent appears at the hearing.

    At this hearing, you must establish that it is more likely than not that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to themself or others by having in the respondent’s control, ownership or possession a gun or ammunition.

    If an ERPO is issued after a full hearing, it will be in effect for one year, or for a period less than one year as ordered by the judge. When an order is issued, the judge will provide a specific date for when the order will expire. 

More info about Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

After a judge issues an ERPO, both you and the respondent have the right to ask the court to modify, suspend, or terminate the order at any time. If either party
makes such a request, the judge will hold a hearing. If the respondent makes the request, the clerk’s office will notify you.The court is required to notify a petitioner (the person filing a petition) if there is a request to modify, suspend, or terminate an ERPO. The court is also required to notify a Petitioner 30 days before an order is set to expire.

If you wish to renew the order, you must appear on the date that the order is set to expire and fill out a new petition, checking the box that indicates that you
are asking that the order be renewed. If you do not appear on that date, the order will expire. If you are unable to appear in court that day, you should call the clerk’s office and inform them that you are unable to appear.

License reinstatement

After an ERPO is terminated or expires, a license to possess/carry firearms will not be reinstated and any surrendered items will not be returned unless and until the police department where the respondent lives determines that the respondent is suitable to be licensed and to possess or carry firearms. For questions on the
suitability process, contact your local police department.

Downloads for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

Contact for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order

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