Minnesota’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is a civil process under a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2024, which can restrict a person from possessing or purchasing a firearm. Commonly referred to as a “red flag law”, this new Minnesota law allows family and household members to petition the Court for an order that restricts a dangerous individual from purchasing or possessing firearms. The law also allows law enforcement and guardians to bring a petition against a respondent.
The law defines “family or household member” as a spouse, former spouse, parent/child, and individuals in a significant romantic/sexual relationship. The process for a family or household member to obtain an ERPO begins with filing a petition. A petition for an ERPO can be completed and filed with the assistance of an attorney, advocate, or on your own. The petition is filed in the county where the respondent lives. The court will then decide whether to grant the request on a temporary basis before providing notice to the respondent. To be granted temporarily, the petition must make specific allegations that the respondent “presents an immediate and present danger of either bodily harm to others or of taking their life.” Minn. Stat. § 624.7171.
Next, the court will set the matter on for a hearing within 14 days to determine if the petitioner can prove the allegations in the petition by “clear and convincing evidence.” This is a higher burden of proof than in most civil contexts. The parties have the right to present evidence, testify, and cross-examine witnesses at this hearing. The statute sets forth several factors for the court to consider when deciding whether to grant the petition. If the petitioner is successful at trial, the court will decide whether to issue the ERPO restricting firearms for six to 12 months.
Contact Jonathan R. Engel at (952) 460-9215 or [email protected] if you need to speak with an attorney regarding an Extreme Risk Protection Order.