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Examples of How Extreme Risk Laws Save Lives

Appendix A


Last Updated: 2.28.2024


The following examples illustrate the use of Extreme Risk laws—sometimes referred to as “red flag” laws—to temporarily remove firearms from dangerous situations. When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see the warning signs. These laws are designed to be a tool to defuse dangerous situations while also providing due process and a system of checks and balances.

Everytown compiled these cases from media reports and publicly available databases. The examples are presented by intent and by year, when known. While they do not cover every case in which a judge granted an order under an Extreme Risk law, these instances provide important examples of the vital role Extreme Risk laws can play in preventing people in crisis from accessing firearms.

Click here to read the full report.

Danger Of Harming Others


An extreme risk protection order was filed by the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office after an attorney threatened to shoot a family court judge. The attorney allegedly told another lawyer in reference to the judge inside of the courthouse, “If I could put a bullet in her…brain, I would.”  A temporary order was granted and three handguns were seized from the attorney’s home.1 Ken Sturtz, “Scriba lawyer accused of threatening Onondaga County judge; guns seized,” Oswego County News Now, December 16, 2023,

2023 | SAN JOSE, CA

A gun violence restraining order was filed against a former San Jose police officer who sent racist texts, including a text where he threatened to shoot a Black attorney. The order was granted and 18 firearms were temporarily removed from the former officer.2 Gabriel Greschler, “San Jose cop behind racist texts had large cache of weapons seized because of message about shooting Black attorney,” The Mercury News, December 29, 2023,


A risk protection order and a risk warrant were obtained after a man, who was a former police officer, threatened to shoot a current police officer. The man had previously criticized the police department and the officer specifically. Four firearms and ammunition were removed from the man’s home.3 Kristina Russo, “Man threatened to cause harm toward a CT school resource officer,” WFSB, November 15, 2023,


An extreme risk protection order was filed by law enforcement against a man who allegedly plotted a mass shooting at a rock climbing event. The order was granted and law enforcement seized three handguns and an AR-15.4 Anna Kaminski, “Multnomah County man charged with planning mass shooting in Deschutes County,” The Bulletin, October 22, 2023,

2023 | Montgomery County, IN

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) seized two handguns, four shotguns, five rifles, and ammunition from a man involved in a domestic dispute, and submitted an affidavit of dangerousness following the seizure, in accordance with Indiana’s firearms seizure and retention law. The man had waved around a handgun and was in possession of another handgun and a shotgun while yelling and cursing at his fiancee’s daughter and another individual outside of the man’s home. A court ordered MCSD to retain the firearms.5 Morgan v. State of Indiana, 23A–CR–1489 (Ind. Ct. App. Feb. 9, 2024).

2023 | DANBURY, CT

A risk protection order was completed after an employee at a local business threatened to kill another employee and to “shoot up and bomb the building.” He had a valid pistol permit and multiple registered firearms. Police executed a search warrant and found a cache of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The man faces charges including first-degree threatening, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.6Rich Kirby, “Danbury Business Employee Threatened To Bomb Workplace: Police,” Patch, April 18, 2023,


A substantial risk order was granted after a 29-year-old woman kidnapped her ex-girlfriend, barricaded herself from police on the highway, asked to speak with her mother to say goodbye, and held a gun against her forehead multiple times. The judge agreed that she was a significant threat to herself and others.7Matthew Torres, “Virginia woman temporarily banned from owning guns after abduction, police barricade,” WUSA9, April 20, 2023,

2023 | BURIEN, WA

An extreme risk protection order was filed after a man fired a gun at a neighbor to “send a message” and said he would do it again. The man was arrested, and police found at least 14 guns, including rifles and handguns, in his possession.8“Burien PD: Man arrested, at least 14 guns seized after shooting at neighbor to ‘send a message,’” Fox 13 Seattle, June 8, 2023,

2022 | DENVER, CO

An extreme risk protection order was filed after a man was concerned by his brother’s behavior and deteriorating mental health, and by the weapons he found in his brother’s house. The man had previously shot his computer with a pistol, and according to court records had also made implied threats to the board of his homeowners’ association. His home contained at least three pistols, three rifles, 5,000 rounds of ammunition (including armor-piercing and hollow-point rounds), a night-vision scope pointed at the door, and a trip-wire attached to a shotgun and flash-bang shells. The judge granted a temporary order. City attorneys then petitioned the court for a one-year order, which the judge granted.9Andrew Kenney, “What one ‘red flag’ case in Denver says about how the city removes guns,” February 14, 2023,


An extreme risk protection order was filed by New York State Police after a man brandished a handgun in a road rage incident and police discovered a loaded “ghost gun” during a search of the man’s car. After State police obtained the temporary extreme risk protection order, they found two assault weapons, two large capacity ammunition devices, and several ghost gun kits during a search of his home.10“Grand Island man indicted on gun charges in connection to road rage incident on the I-190,” 7KWBW Buffalo, October 17, 2022,


A Florida judge issued an extreme risk protection order filed by law enforcement against an 80 year-old man who was threatening to shoot people walking on the beach in front of his home. According to Palm Beach Police, this individual had called them 550 times to report individuals that he claimed were trespassing on the property; the last time he called the police, he was threatening to kill the people walking near his property.11 “State seizes gun from Palm Beach man who threatened to shoot people on beach in front of house,” WPBF 25 West Palm Beach, September 22, 2022,


An extreme risk protection order was filed by Lee County Sheriff’s Office against an 18-year-old male who was involved in the death of a 17-year-old girl who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The weapon used was a ghost gun owned by the 18-year-old man, and he admitted to the responding officer that he assembles firearms in his home. He was already on juvenile probation for unlawful possession of a firearm at the time of the shooting. During the investigation, deputies found video evidence of him aiming what appeared to be a loaded gun at a friend. A judge approved the risk protection order.12“Judge ratifies risk protection order against 18-year-old following fatal shooting,” NBC2 News, August 8, 2022,


An extreme risk protection order was granted by the Pinellas County Courts after a man was caught holding an AR-9 while behaving aggressively toward Black landscapers near his property. The man’s guns were confiscated on July 27, 2022. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney is reviewing the case to determine if criminal charges will be filed against the man.13“Florida man has guns seized after threatening Black landscapers with rifle,” Orlando Weekly, August 2, 2022,


An emergency extreme risk protection order was filed by the Seattle police department after a man had allegedly threatened to kill Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. The man was arrested outside the congresswoman’s property in Washington after he was reported to have yelled obscene and threatening comments and was armed with his .40 caliber handgun. The order required the man to turn in his firearms and concealed pistol license.14“Man who allegedly threatened to kill U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal released from jail,” The Seattle Times, July 13, 2022,


An emergency risk protection order was filed by a man’s family members. After law enforcement completed a background check and reviewed dispatch calls from the State Patrol, a petition was compiled and submitted to the District Attorney. Around the time the petition was submitted to the court, the individual was arrested at a store for threatening people. A court issued an emergency ERPO and scheduled a hearing to determine whether a final order should be issued.15“Colorado’s Red Flag Law one year later. How did it go?” The Crestone Eagle, September, 2021, 


A judge granted an order against a man in his sixties who had a history of concerning behavior. The man had repeatedly called police to his home claiming to have been shot or that hitmen were in his bedroom. He often dressed in law enforcement gear and questioned neighbors. He had also bragged about shooting someone and sent his ex-wife threatening text messages. After obtaining the order, sheriffs removed 59 guns and 50,000 rounds of ammunition from his possession.16Elise Schmelzer and Shelley Bradley, “Colorado’s Red Flag Law Iis One Year Old. Here’s Who’s Using the Law to Confiscate Guns — and Why,” Denver Post, January 10, 2021,; Christopher Osher and Evan Wyloge, “Colorado ‘Red Flag’ Law Shows Some Success, but Inconsistent Use,” Colorado Springs Gazette, March 28, 2021,


Police received an anonymous tip expressing concerns about a 27-year-old man who had made multiple alarming posts on Facebook, including one threatening to attack a local Walmart. Police and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office obtained an order, and police removed seven guns and numerous rounds of ammunition from two separate apartments.17Joe Brandt, “Princeton Man Posted aAbout Bringing His AR-15 Rifle to Walmart, So Cops Seized All His Guns,”, November 11, 2019,

2018 | MONROE, WA

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office obtained an order against a 20-year-old man. who claimed to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), posted on social media about killing Jews in a synagogue and kids in a school. In one post, he reportedly wrote that he was “shooting for 30 Jews,” and in another post he wrote about replicating the actions of the white supremacist who shot and killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Sheriffs removed 12 guns from his home.18Caleb Hutton, “Monroe Man Gets 1 Year in Jail for Threats to Massacre Jews,” HeraldNet (Everett, Washington), June 5, 2019,; Caleb Hutton, “Monroe Man Charged in Killing Plot: ‘I’m Shooting for 30 Jews,’” HeraldNet (Everett, Washington), April 8, 2019,


Courthouse employees notified law enforcement after a Broward County bailiff simulated shooting people from the fifth-floor atrium and called them “easy prey.” Following a hearing, a judge ordered 67 firearms, including an AR-15, to be removed from the bailiff’s home for a one-year period.19Jessica Lipscomb, “Florida’s Post-Parkland ‘Red Flag’ Law Has Taken Guns from Dozens of Dangerous People,” Miami New Times, August 7, 2018,

2018 | SAN DIEGO, CA

A 79-year-old man allegedly shot a city worker and was placed in custody. Police were concerned about the man having access to firearms if he were to be released on bail, and they requested and received an order. Police removed an AR-15 with a 200-round drum magazine, 34 other rifles, and 21 handguns from his home.20City News Service, “Man Who Shot City Worker Had a Cache of Guns, Explosives, Prosecutors Say,” Fox 5 News, September 14, 2018,; San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott, “Man Who Shot City Worker Had Weapons Stockpile,” September 14, 2018,

c. 2016-2018 | CALIFORNIA

The California Department of Justice was warned about a 21-year-old man who threatened to shoot his coworkers after he was fired. It was discovered that he had recently purchased a shotgun, but due to California’s 10-day waiting period, the sale had not yet been completed. A temporary order was granted that ultimately blocked the sale, and police found 400 rounds of shotgun ammunition in his home. After a hearing that man participated in, a judge determined a final one-year order should be issued.21Wintemute et al., “Extreme Risk Protection Orders Intended to Prevent Mass Shootings.”

Danger Of Gunfire In Schools

2024 | Colorado Springs, CO

An extreme risk protection order was filed by the Colorado Springs Police Department against a man who was assisting a student with a plan to commit a mass shooting at the student’s high school. The order was granted and the man was prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms for 364 days.22Aaron Valdez, “Police: Protection order filed against Colorado man connected to Mariemont shooting plot,” Cincinnati Enquirer, February 23, 2024,

2024 | SAN DIEGO, CA

A gun violence restraining order was filed against a teenager after he threatened to commit a shooting at his high school. The order was granted and law enforcement found  assault weapons, ghost guns, and other weapons at his family’s current and previous home, as well as in a storage unit.23 Alani Letang, “Rancho Bernardo parent pleads not guilty to weapons felonies after son allegedly threatened school shooting,” FOX 5 San Diego, February 1, 2024,


A risk protection order was issued after a man threatened Middletown schools. He made comments about purchasing a gun, “shooting up a school,” and taking down a local middle school. Although police did not find any firearms in his home, a risk protection order was issued to prevent him from buying firearms or ammunition.24Brendan Crowley, “Memo Leak Details Police Investigation of Threats Aimed at Middletown Schools,” The Connecticut Examiner, May 1, 2023,

2023 | LAS VEGAS, NV

A high-risk protection order was filed and granted after a teenager made online threats to “shoot up” a high school. He told officers that he was “fascinated by school shooters” and also mentioned that he identified with the Columbine school shooters. He was arrested for making threats of terrorism.25“Local teen arrested after making online threats to school in Arkansas,” News 3, May 23, 2023,


A temporary extreme risk protection order was issued after a 14-year-old brought a handgun to school and threatened to shoot a teacher. The student was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat. Weapons from the student’s home were turned over by the student’s parents and secured by police.26Darian Stevenson, “Baldwinsville student, 14, brought a handgun to school, police say,”, March 7, 2023,


An extreme risk protection order was filed by Essex County State’s Attorney after a man threatened to come to his child’s school and kill people if drag queens or transgender students approached his child. The threats motivated the Canaan high school and elementary school to shut down for the remaining two days of the school year. While Vermont State Police did not find any weapons at his home, the man voiced his desire to purchase an AK-47 assault style rifle to police. The extreme risk protection order was granted and prohibits the man from purchasing or possessing weapons for six months.27“Canaan parent cited transgender people in threat against school, court documents show,” VTDigger, June 15, 2022,


A judge granted an emergency order against a 32-year-old man after he sent texts threatening to commit two school shootings to his adoptive father. The man, a military veteran, conveyed in the text messages that he had trouble finding work and that if his adoptive parents did not stop demanding repayment of money he owed them, he would “kill a lot of people.” Although police found no firearms in his home when they executed the order, the man had communicated plans to buy two firearms. After a hearing at which he appeared with counsel, a judge issued a final order prohibiting him from purchasing or possessing firearms.28Sady Swanson, “Red Flag Petition Granted for Larimer County Man Accused of Threatening Mass Shooting,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, May 28, 2020,


A judge granted a petition for a man who posed for photos with a semi-automatic rifle and had spoken openly about planning a school shooting.29Friedman, “Shots Not Fired.”


Two students at Middlebury Union Middle School were planning to shoot another student on campus and “anyone else.” Another student overheard this conversation and notified the school principal, who then called the police. One of the students was planning to get the guns from a relative. Prosecutors obtained an emergency 14-day order and removed 10 weapons from the relative’s home to which the student said he had access to.30Lucia I. Suarez Sang, “Attentive Student Foiled Possible School Shooting, Vermont Police Say,” Fox News, December 19, 2018,; Spencer Conlin, “Middlebury Police Chief Defends Weapons
Seizure Over Alleged Shooting Plot,”, December 19, 2018,


A high school student was stalking his ex-girlfriend after she broke up with him. At one point he attempted to punch a boy who was with her. The student also threatened to post private photos of the girl on social media, threatened suicide if she didn’t get back together with him, and posted photos of an AR-15 online. Two resource officers submitted affidavits for a petition against him, and all the firearms were removed from his home.31Emma Kennedy, “Tate Student’s AR-15, Father’s 54 Guns Removed under New Red Flag Law,” Pensacola News Journal, July 9, 2018,

c. 2016-2018 | CALIFORNIA

A 21-year-old man posted statements online threatening his former high school. Two different acquaintances reported these posts to police, with one person reporting a post that appeared to show the man holding an AR-type rifle. The school was closed the following day. A temporary ex parte order was obtained, and a full order was issued after a hearing.32Wintemute et al., “Extreme Risk Protection Orders.”

Domestic Violence


An extreme risk protection order was issued after a 66-year-old man attempted to smother his girlfriend while she was asleep, and threatened to shoot and use a taser baton on her. Law enforcement arrested the man. During service of the order, they found a loaded, illegally owned revolver and ammunition at his home.33“Man arrested after trying to smother, threatening to shoot his girlfriend,” WBNG, February 16, 2023,


A firearms restraining order was obtained by police after a person who was angry and intoxicated was involved in a domestic dispute. Three rifles and three handguns were removed with consent, and when the order was served, an additional handgun and a FOID card were removed.34Village of Riverwoods, “Police Press Release Activity 02/15/23 to 02/21/23,”

2020 | RIFLE, CO

A 36-year-old police officer with a history of domestic violence became upset after learning a fellow officer was moving to another agency. After drinking heavily and arguing with his ex-wife, he grabbed a handgun and threatened suicide if his ex-wife tried to leave the house. He also threatened suicide if his ex-wife or their children called the police. The following day, police obtained an emergency order requiring him to surrender all of his firearms.35Stephanie Butzer, “Red Flag Petition Approved After Rifle Man Allegedly Threatened to Kill Himself, Ex-wife, Children,” Denver 7, May 1, 2020,

2020 | DENVER, CO

At the end of 2019, a 26-year-old man voluntarily turned over his firearms to Denver police during a domestic violence investigation. The man was suspected of beating his wife and had made suicidal statements on numerous occasions when talking with police. One day after Colorado’s Extreme Risk law took effect in 2020, a judge granted an order allowing police to temporarily keep the man’s guns as the investigation continued.36Marshall Zelinger, “First Known Case Using Colorado’s New Red Flag Law Filed in Denver,” KUSA TV, January 3, 2020,


The day after learning his wife was leaving him, a 35-year-old man went out and purchased a handgun. After returning home with the gun and consuming alcohol, he began arguing with his wife. As the argument escalated, he took out the gun. His wife made a phone call to another man, letting him know her husband would not let her leave. Her husband then, threatened to kill the other man. Police arrived minutes later and the man relinquished his handgun. The next morning, a judge issued an order preventing the man from purchasing or possessing firearms for one year.37Friedman, “Shots Not Fired.”

2018 | LA JOLLA, CA

Law enforcement obtained an order against a 40-year-old man who texted his fiancée saying he wanted to shoot her in the head and threatened her ex-boyfriend while armed with a knife. Law enforcement removed a handgun and an assault-style rifle from his possession. 38Littlefield, “10 San Diego Residents Under Court Orders.”

2018 | MID-CITY, CA

A 33-year-old man locked his wife in a car with him and began to threaten her with a loaded firearm. Police found two loaded firearms that did not belong to him in the car. Law enforcement obtained an order and removed the two handguns from his possession.39Dana Littlefield, “10 San Diego Residents Under Court Orders to Give up Their Guns,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, February 16,2018,

2018 | SUNRISE, FL

A 47-year-old man admitted his plans to kill his estranged wife, her sister, and his pastor to his church congregation. After a hearing, a judge granted an order requiring the removal of the man’s handgun and relinquishment of his concealed-weapons license.40Lipscomb, “Florida’s Post-Parkland ‘Red Flag’ Law.”

Danger Of Self-harm

2023 | MYSTIC, CT

A risk protection order was issued against a man who had previous military training and a recent history of mental illness, including multiple service calls to law enforcement involving his mental health and an emergency mental health evaluation. The man was storing ammunition, body armor, and other tactical gear on vacant school property. While no guns were located, police seized more than 10 boxes of ammunition and 5 magazines, some of which could be accepted into an AR-style rifle.41 Greg Smith, “Police use red flag law to seize ammunition stored on state property in Mystic,” The Day, November 18, 2023,


An extreme risk protection order was filed and granted after a woman told police she needed help and was hearing voices. The woman had also told a friend that she was suicidal. Law enforcement seized two firearms, ammunition, and shell casings from the woman’s bedroom.42 Meagan Flynn, “D.C.’s red-flag gun seizures are low. Officials hope to change that,” The Washington Post, August 22, 2023,

2023 | CICERO, NY

A temporary extreme risk protection order was obtained by police after a 45-year-old man living near an elementary school doused his home in gasoline and set fire to his truck. He had told his mother he was going to burn down his house and truck while inside, and police had found three guns in his home. Police sought the order due to the presence of guns in his home and his proximity to the school, and the judge granted it. The man was also taken to an emergency psychiatric service.43Rylee Kirk, “Suicidal man doused his home with gas in Cicero, set fire to truck before fleeing police,”, June 15, 2023,

2021 | REDMOND, WA

An emergency risk protection order was filed against a man following repeated threats to harm himself. After he had turned over four pistols and a semiautomatic rifle to a family friend, his wife later learned that he had purchased a new semiautomatic Smith & Wesson 9 mm handgun but was unable to retrieve it due to Washington state’s law that gives background check operators 10-days to complete the check. His wife then contacted a family friend who worked at the King County Sheriff’s Office, seeking help obtaining an ERPO against her husband. The Sheriff’s office petitioned the court and received a final one-year extreme risk protection order prohibiting the man from buying or having guns.44“How Richard Sherman’s family, police and a gun dealer intervened to prevent potential tragedy,” The Seattle Times, August 5, 2021


An emergency risk protection order was filed by a police officer after the man had disappeared from a family reunion and was experiencing paranoia. After a judge granted the emergency ERPO to restrict access to firearms for 14 days, the man’s father and brother testified in support of a final one-year ERPO. The man surrendered a revolver, two semi-automatic handguns, a hunting rifle and his concealed pistol license.45“Washington voters led much of the nation in saying guns must sometimes be seized to prevent violence. How’s the law working?” The Seattle Times, June 1, 2021


A woman contacted the sheriff’s office after her husband made repeated comments about harming himself or using a firearm to provoke others to harm him. After investigating, law enforcement used the law to remove 20 firearms from the home.46“20 Guns Confiscated fFrom Bartholomew County Man uUnder Indiana’s Red Flag Law,” WTTV, July 13, 2020, 


Police obtained an order after a man threatened to shoot himself in his ex-girlfriend’s driveway, following their break up. Police retrieved a loaded gun from his car.47Graham Moomaw, “Pro-gun Localities Accounted for Nearly Half of Virginia’s Red Flag Orders in Law’s First Months,” Virginia Mercury, October 6, 2020,  


A 33-year-old man entered another person’s home and was unable to tell police what he was doing there. Police learned from his wife that he was experiencing mental health challenges and had been exhibiting “paranoid and delusional” behavior. Police obtained an emergency order and removed six firearms, including an assault-style rifle.48Daniel Berti, “More Than 20 Guns Removed From Prince William, Manassas Residents So Far Via ‘Red Flag’ Law,” Prince William Times, February 25, 2021,  


Two days before Christmas, a concerned individual contacted police regarding a text message they had received, which contained an image of a man holding a firearm in a position that was threatening suicide. Police officers subsequently went to the man’s house, where he told the officers he had a firearm in the home and was intending to die by suicide. Police then obtained an order to temporarily remove the man’s firearm.49Katherine Gregg and Brian Amaral, “Police: RI‘s Red Flag Law ‘Likely Averted Potential Tragedies,’” Providence Journal, December 30, 2019,


Police arrested a 51-year-old man for illegally possessing a firearm and for shooting a car. Following his arraignment, the man made statements regarding self-harm, prompting authorities to obtain an emergency order. Police removed a handgun and seven long guns from the man’s possession. The man waived his right to the final hearing, agreeing to comply with a judge’s order requiring the removal of his firearms for one year.50Bob Fredericks, “Man Becomes First to Lose Guns under New York’s ‘Red Flag’ Law,” New York Post, September 13, 2019,


An individual called police about a relative who was threatening suicide with a gun in his home. After trying for hours to get the man to come out with no success, police obtained an order and the man relinquished his firearms.51Koseff, “‘Best Tool’ to Prevent Gun Violence.”

Read Appendix B: Extreme Risk Laws By State

Everytown Research & Policy is a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to understanding and reducing gun violence. Everytown Research & Policy works to do so by conducting methodologically rigorous research, supporting evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge to the American public.

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