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Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) Study

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act generated a new, national focus on extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs). But what do Americans and law enforcement officials in the 21 states and Washington, D.C. with existing ERPOs know, think and feel about these laws and how they can be used to prevent gun-related tragedies?

In June 2022, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was the first major gun reform legislation in decades. Among provisions addressing mental health and school safety, the bill made a number of reforms to the current process for the purchase and access of a firearm. Within this area were incentives for states to develop and implement extreme risk protection order programs (ERPOs).

This bipartisan bill generated a new, national focus on extreme risk protection orders. The Ad Council and The Joyce Foundation recognize this focus as an opportunity to raise awareness related to these laws among both gun owners and non-gun owners in the 211 states and Washington, D.C. with existing ERPOs, through research specifically designed to:

  • Determine the public’s current level of awareness and understanding of ERPO laws.
  • Understand the public’s attitudes towards ERPOs and the implementation of them, and if they change after learning more.
  • Identify the best way(s) to educate and communicate about ERPOs to the general public.

Commissioned by The Joyce Foundation, the Ad Council Research Institute (ACRI) conducted a mixed-methods research study to understand current knowledge of and attitudes toward ERPOs by the general public and identify the most effective way(s) to discuss these laws. The findings in this report and accompanying toolkit provide a deeper look into ERPOs, how to effectively speak about these laws with the American public, and how to drive more awareness and understanding of ERPOs across the country.

1 At the time of this study, 19 states and Washington, D.C. had existing ERPO laws. Since the study began, two additional states have adopted such laws, bringing the total to 21. Though the study did not include a sample from the two latter states, recommendations and the accompanying toolkit should still be used with the public in these states.

Key Data Points