Press Releases

Chairman Nadler Floor Statement for Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act

Washington, June 9, 2022
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following remarks on the House floor, as prepared, during debate of the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act”:
“Over the past several weeks, we have watched in horror as gun violence has touched communities across the country and dozens of people—young and old—have lost their lives.  The details of each case differ—each tragic in its own way—but there is one theme that comes up most often: someone deeply troubled, experiencing some sort of crisis, had easy access to firearms.  And all too often, the warning signs were clear, but nothing was done to keep guns out of their hands before it was too late.

“H.R. 2377, the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act,” provides a sensible means by which someone who is exhibiting dangerous behavior can be prevented from possessing or purchasing firearms before tragedy strikes. 

“This legislation, introduced by Representative Lucy McBath, authorizes federal courts to issue an extreme risk protection order—or ERPO—temporarily removing firearms from a person in crisis and preventing them from purchasing firearms.  This only occurs after the court determines that there is evidence demonstrating that the person poses an imminent danger of injuring himself, herself, or others.

“The bill also includes legislation by Representative Salud Carbajal, which provides funding to states to enact ERPO statutes of their own.

“We know that Extreme Risk laws save lives.  We have witnessed their effectiveness in state after state, beginning in 2016 when California passed the first such law.  Since then, 18 other states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws.

“An analysis of the first three years of California’s extreme risk law found that these orders were used for 58 mass shooting threats, including six in which a minor threatened to target a school. 

“These orders were also used in response to 82 threats of suicide, and they worked: no suicides occurred among individuals who were subject to the orders.

“Federal courts have long been bastions of due process—and accordingly, this legislation includes strong due process provisions that strike the appropriate balance between protecting the rights of the gun owner and ensuring community safety.  Every court that has reviewed laws similar to this bill has found that the procedural safeguards are sufficient.

“And as then-Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett wrote, “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns.”  M. Speaker, the Constitution does not require us to wait until lives are lost.

“As we address the scourge of gun violence—a blight that killed 45,000 Americans in 2020 alone—let us remember that there are no perfect solutions.  We are painfully aware that we cannot do enough to save every life, and there is no one answer that will solve this problem. 

“But we do know that taking guns out of the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves, or others, would save countless lives.  This legislation would take meaningful steps to prevent gun violence tragedies in our communities, while at the same time protecting the due process rights of those individuals in crisis. 

“I want to thank Representatives McBath and Carbajal for their leadership on this issue, I urge all Members to support the bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.”