Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Extreme Risk Protection Orders 


Massachusetts law allows for the issuance of an Extreme Risk Protection Order, also known as a red flag law. The Extreme Risk Protection Order can be issued against an individual who is believed to pose a risk of bodily injury to themselves or others, and they have either a license to carry a firearm or a firearms identification card.


The Extreme Risk Protection Order is a court order that immediately suspends a person’s firearms identification card or license to carry firearms based upon a finding that the person poses a risk of bodily injury to themselves or others by being in possession of an FID/LTC or having in their control/possession/ownership a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, stun gun or ammunition. Upon being served with the order, the person must immediately surrender all licenses, guns, and ammunition to the police department serving the order which shall then retain the items while the Extreme Risk Protection Order is in effect. Failing to surrender the license, guns or ammunition is a misdemeanor, punishable by fine of no more than $5,000, and imprisonment for not more than 2 ½ years.


The firearms licensing authority of the municipality where the person resides or a family or household member who believes that the person holding a license may pose a risk of causing bodily injury to themselves or others may petition to have an Extreme Risk Protection Order issued. The Extreme Risk Protection Order is filed in the district court that has jurisdiction over the city or town where the subject of the order resides. For Westford residents that is Ayer District Court.


 “Family or household member” is defined as a person who: (i) is or was married to the

Respondent; (ii) is or was residing with the Respondent in the same household; (iii) is or was

related by blood or marriage to the Respondent; (iv) has or is having a child in common with the

Respondent, regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; (v) is or has been in

a substantive dating relationship with the Respondent; or (vi) is or has been engaged to the



For more information on Extreme Risk Prevention Orders click the link below.