District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE NEWS
The staff of the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office is taking part today in a training on Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) as part of a pilot project between the District Attorney and New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.
Despite the passage of the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act in 2020, ERPOs continue to be underutilized, leaving far too many firearms in the hands of people who present a risk of violence to themselves or others. While most think of ERPOs within the context of police departments and sheriffs’ offices, ERPOs can also be filed by the District Attorney’s Office, which can serve to provide more comprehensive coverage in reducing the dangers firearms pose to the public.
As of June 2021, nineteen states and the District of Columbia have ERPO laws. Research shows that ERPO laws save lives by preventing gun violence, including cases in which suicide is a concern. According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, research in Connecticut showed that “[s]uicidality or self-injury was a listed concern in ≥61% of cases.” Further, the study found that extreme risk laws lead to a 13.7% reduction in firearm suicides.
Extreme risk laws serve not only to save the lives of those in possession of firearms, but countless others as well. In California, extreme risk laws prevented 21 mass shootings over the course of two years.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act into law February 27, 2020, and the law went into effect on May 20, 2020. Fewer than 10 ERPOs have been filed statewide since May of 2020. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies says, “My hope is that with training and collaboration, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office can help to protect the public by getting guns out of the hands of those who pose a serious risk of violence toward themselves or our community, while also respecting Second Amendment rights.”