May 18, 2020 Blog

Preventing Firearm Suicide in the time of COVID

Suicide accounts for nearly two thirds of all gun deaths in the United States. In Washington state, more than 75 percent of gun deaths are suicides. As we confront the impact of COVID-19 and record gun sales across the country, the risk of firearm suicide is only growing. 

Thankfully, there are tools available that can help prevent these tragedies before it’s too late. One of the most effective suicide prevention tools is an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which allows a family member or law enforcement officer to file a civil order to temporarily prohibit a person at risk of harming themselves or others from possessing firearms. 

In 2016, more than 70 percent of Washington voters approved Initiative 1491, creating ERPOs in Washington state. Since then, King County has served as a model for the nation in implementing ERPOs.

In partnership with The Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, local experts recorded this series of videos sharing best practices and insights to help people across the country effectively implement ERPO laws.


As we face the unprecedented challenges ahead, we are committed to ensuring that lifesaving gun safety laws like ERPOs are working to keep our communities safe. 

You can also learn more about ERPOs in Washington state here and ERPOs around the country here.

— Kristen Ellingboe is Communications Manager for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.