ERPO gives families and law enforcement officers a way to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit an at-risk person from purchasing or possessing a gun. ERPO is a non-criminal process that involves a court hearing and clearly defined due process protections.
How can ERPO help save lives?
ERPO is effective because guns present a uniquely lethal risk in cases of attempted suicide
90% of suicide attempts using a gun are fatal, compared to 5% of most common alternative methods (Azrael, Miller)
Suicidal acts are often impulsive and fleeting and, thus, preventing access to the most lethal means is crucial
Saving someone’s life in the near-term will likely save that person’s life in the long-term
Just 10% of those who survive a suicide attempt go on to die from suicide later (Owens, et al)
How are suicide and gun violence related?
Every day 65 Americans commit suicide using a gun (CDC)
In 2017 nearly half (47%) of all suicide deaths in Wisconsin involved guns (CDC)
Over 75% of all gun deaths in Wisconsin are deaths due to suicide (Giffords Law Center)
Is suicide a unique problem in Wisconsin?
The suicide rate in Wisconsin was higher than the national average in 2017 (15.45 people vs 14 people per 100,000 people) (AFSP)
926 people in Wisconsin died from suicide in 2017 (AFSP)
Teen suicide in Wisconsin has almost doubled since 2007 (CDC)
Does ERPO violate our Constitutional Rights (2nd Amendment, Due Process)?
No. The Supreme Court ruled in D.C. vs Heller that the 2nd Amendment allows for firearm restrictions that are “presumptively lawful.” Moreover, ERPO follows due process through the court system by allowing a judge to make an informed decision to temporarily remove firearms from people posing an imminent threat.
Isn’t law enforcement already removing firearms from people posing a threat?
Sometimes; but municipalities have been sued for this because they do not have the legal backing that ERPO provides. Meanwhile, Chapter 51, which is sometimes invoked by law enforcement, is more complex than ERPO and is often inadequate for providing safety to someone who is suicidal.
The epidemiology of case fatality rates for suicide in the northeast. Matthew J. Miller, Deborah Azrael, David Hemenway. 2004 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15159703
Fatal and non-fatal repetition of self-harm. Systematic review. David Owens, Judith Horrocks, Allan House. 2002 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12204922
Suicide Statistics American Society for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
Fatal Injury Reports, National, Regional and State, 1981 – 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate.html
Photo Credit: Illustration by Brian Stauffer for Rolling Stone
wave2019Preventing Suicide Through Sensible Policy
Overwhelmingly, Wisconsinites – fromevery part of the state – support commonsense gun violence prevention policies.
The following laws would help prevent gun violence in Wisconsin:
Require background checks on all gun sales.
In Wisconsin, federally licensed dealers are required to conduct a background check on all firearm sales, but private sellers are not. This private sale loophole allows just about anyone to sell a gun with no background check, no identification, and no questions asked. Between 80% and 90% of Wisconsinites, including gun owners, support background checks on all gun sales.
In the 10 years following Connecticut’s passage of its law requiring prospective handgun buyers to first get a permit – by passing a criminal background check – firearm homicides declined by 40%.
Create a mechanism that allows for the temporary removal of guns when individuals are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.
Often after a horrible act of violence, families say they saw warning signs – red flags – but there was nothing they could do.
An Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) gives families and law enforcement officers a way to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit an at-risk person from possessing a gun. The ERPO is a non-criminal process that involves a court hearing, as well as clearly defined due process protections.
When our loved ones are in crisis, they should have access to quality care, not guns.
Prohibit those with violent misdemeanor convictions from possessing firearms for 10 years.
In Wisconsin, people with a long history of violence, such as assault and battery, can still buy guns.
Research shows that one of the strongest predictors of future violence is past violence. A study found that people who lawfully bought guns after being convicted of two or more violent misdemeanors were 15 times as likely to later be arrested for murder, rape or aggravated assault.
 Rudolph, K., et al, “Association between Connecticut’s
permit-to-purchase handgun law and homicides,” American Journal of Public Health, June 2015.
 Wintemute, G., et al, “Prior Misdemeanor Convictions as a
Risk Factor for Later Violent and Firearm-Related Criminal Activity among
Authorized Purchasers of Handguns,” JAMA,
WAVE’s eight 2019 youth summer interns, aged 15 to 19, were
very busy advocating for gun violence prevention in Wisconsin.
Throughout the summer, the interns cultivated strong friendships with one another and developed skills that they will continue to use throughout their lives.
Examples of What We Did
Performed street actions to demand commonsense gun policies
Held up signs supporting gun violence prevention reforms at Lake Michigan on July 3rd, a day that attracts many people to the area for fireworks,
Protested (holding signs and chanting) outside Senator Ron Johnson’s Milwaukee office due to his dangerous voting history regarding gun violence prevention reforms, and
Led the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County on a street march in Madison with signs and chants.
Collected signatures and wrote a letter to demand policy change from lawmakers at the…
August Recess Rally,
Brewers Community Foundation kiosk at Miller Park,
Fondy Farmers Market, and
Milwaukee Public Market.
Empowered youth leaders through youth peace advocacy training at the…
All People’s Church Youth Music Activism Workshop,
Boys and Girls Club of Dane County,
Independence-First Youth Leadership Summit,
Oakland Cambridge Presbyterian Church, and
Peacemakers’ Day Camp.
Registered voters (especially in marginalized communities) at the…
All People’s Church Isaiah 55 Food Pantry,
Fondy Farmers Market,
Phongsavan Asian Market Health Fair,
Southwest Wisconsin YWCA,
WestCare Wisconsin E.A.T.S. Food Pantry, and
2019 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Convention and Exposition at the Wisconsin Center.
Collaborated and spread awareness with ally organizations, including…
All Peoples Church is a truly inclusive church that partners for justice and welcomes all people. All Peoples Church is outspoken in support of “Black Lives Matter,’ the LGBTQ community, and immigrants.
Boys & Girls Club of Dane County has a vision is to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential as responsible and caring adults.
Brewers Community Foundation harnesses the pride, passion, and commitment of Brewers fans, players and other supporters to positively impact the lives of children and their families in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Fondy Farmers Market is a diverse, nationally recognized leader in connecting low-income people with the benefits of farmers’ markets.
Independence-First’s has a mission to effectively facilitate the empowerment of diverse, multi-cultural individuals with disabilities. Independence-First values inclusion, access, empowerment, and independence for people with disabilities.
Indivisible Tosa takes effective action to make sure that Congress is paying attention to the voters.
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs.
March for Our Lives (Madison and Milwaukee chapters) harnesses the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives.
Milwaukee Consortium for Hmong Health, Inc. strives to build the capacity to address cancer health disparities through community engagement.
Milwaukee Friends Meeting (Quakers) is a witness for peace, equality, simplicity, and justice.
Moms Demand Action/Students Demand Action/Everytown for Gun Safety are fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.
Northcott Neighborhood House strives to empower families to meet their survival needs and provide good parenting to their children; to provide a safe place for youth as well as recreational and skill-building activities; and to provide the neighborhood with space, activities, and the opportunity to engage in community building and crime prevention.
Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM) acts to inspire a dynamic collaboration that heals trauma and creates a resilient community.
Southwest Wisconsin YWCA is an organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
WestCare was founded to reclaim, rename, and rebuild the Harambee (meaning “Work Together – Pull Together” in Swahili) Neighborhood.
The majority of Wisconsin lawmakers have ignored the evidence, ignored their constituents, and ignored the devastation gun violence thrusts into the lives of Wisconsinites. It’s time for us to pack the Capitol full of citizens, who are united in their determination to prevent gun violence.
Citizen Action Day Details:
Deserve To Be Heard on Thursday, October 24th, 2019 9:45am – 10am – Check-in at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison, WI 10am – 12:45pm – Orientation on gun violence in Wisconsin, training on citizen-lobbying best practices, and lunch at Bethel Lutheran Church 1:00pm – 3:00pm – Meetings with your elected officials or their staff members at the Capitol
$15 fee includes your lunch and all training materials.