What Does Michigan’s Extreme Risk Protection Order Act Mean for Law Enforcement?
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a bill package, known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Act, into law. The Act is designed to curb gun violence in the state and requires law enforcement to seize and remove firearms in some instances.
The package, which is also known as Michigan’s “Red flag laws,” includes legislation that allows specific individuals (petitioners) the ability to file a request with a circuit court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. In addition, the Act requires a law enforcement officer to personally serve an ERPO on the restrained individual.
Under the Act, a law enforcement officer is required to serve an ERPO on the restrained individual. After, the law enforcement officer who served an ERPO would have to file proof of notice with the clerk of the court that issued the order. The court would then notify the petitioner of the service.
Law enforcement agencies would be required to enter information into the LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network) and report information to the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Under the Act, the law enforcement agency ordered to seize a firearm would have to do all of the following:
- Seize a firearm and ammunition identified in an ERPO from any place or from any individual who had possession or control of the firearm and ammunition; and
- Seize any other firearms or ammunition discovered that were owned by or in the possession or control of the restrained individual.
A law enforcement officer who seized a firearm or ammunition would have to give a receipt for the firearm or ammunition to the individual from whom it was taken, specifying the firearm or ammunition in detail. If an individual is not present, an officer would have to leave the receipt in a place where the officer found the firearm or ammunition.
The law enforcement agency that seized the firearm or ammunition would then have to store the items subject to the court’s instructions. In addition, the law enforcement agency would have to return the firearm or ammunition when the ERPO expires or is terminated.
Before returning the firearm or ammunition to the restrained individual, the law enforcement agency must conduct a verification under LEIN and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
An individual who refused or failed to comply with an ERPO would be subject to penalties as follows, which could be imposed in addition to a penalty imposed for another criminal offense arising from the same conduct:
- For a first offense, guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days imprisonment or a fine of up to $500, or both;
- For a second offense, guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment or up to four years or a fine of up to $2,000, or both;
- For a third or subsequent offense, guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years or a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
Help is available
The municipal attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio, who represent police departments throughout metro Detroit, are available to answer questions regarding the ERPO Act. For more information, call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.