DC’s Red Flag Law: Removing Guns from Potentially Dangerous Persons

DC Red Flag Law
OAG's educational handout on DC's Red Flag Law. Full PDF linked below.

COVID-19 UPDATE: During the COVID-19 public health emergency, you can complete the ERPO form (step #2 below) electronically and then contact the Court to complete the filing by phone at (202) 879-0157 or by email at domesticviolencemanagement@dcsc.gov.

Are you concerned about a friend or family member who owns a gun and could be a danger to themselves or others? Learn how the District’s “Red Flag Law” can be used to remove a firearm from a potentially dangerous individual.

In December 2018, a Red Flag law was passed in D.C. to help keep the District and its residents safe. This law allows certain District residents to petition the D.C. Superior Court to issue Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), which requires the temporary removal of firearms and ammunition from people who are considered a danger to themselves or others.

Here’s how the Red Flag Law works:

  1. Who can seek an ERPO: Family members, guardians, domestic partners, romantic partners or dates, parent of a child in common, roommates, police officers, and mental health professionals.
  2. How to seek an ERPO: Fill out a FREE form called a "petition" at www.dccourts.gov/ERPO and file it in person at the D.C. Superior Court (500 Indiana Ave. NW, Room 4510) or United Medical Center (1328 Southern Ave. SE, Room 311). The petition must include facts supporting the claim that the person in possession of firearms or ammunition is a danger to themselves or others.

    The requester can seek a temporary order and see a judge within one business day even before the person at risk knows about the case. The emergency order may last up to 14 days until a final order is issued. The requester can seek a final order and see a judge within 14 business days where both the requestor and person at risk are given the chance to present their evidence to the court. The final order can be in effect up to one year and can be renewed.
  3. What happens if an ERPO is granted: Police will contact the person who is the subject of the ERPO to retrieve any firearms and ammunition. Anyone who peaceably surrenders any firearms or ammunition in response to an ERPO cannot be arrested or prosecuted for unlawfully possessing or carrying the firearms or ammunition.