Virginia’s Emergency Substantial Risk Order (ESRO) law, commonly known as a Red Flag law, prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing, possessing, or transporting any kind of firearm. ESROs also provide necessary procedural safeguards to ensure that no firearm is removed without due process, while ensuring that gun tragedies are not repeated.
Fairfax County Police Domestic Violence Detective Amanda Paris says that the Red Flag Law is a great tool to help keep the community safe. “Not only does it give time for the person on the order to go ahead and seek the treatment and the help that they need, but it also allows the community to feel safer by having those weapons temporarily removed.”
The order allows either law enforcement officers or Commonwealth Attorney* to petition a judge of any court or magistrate if they have probable cause to believe that a person is a substantial risk to either themselves or others in the near future by either being in possession or acquiring a firearm. While they're under that order, they can't purchase, possess or transport any firearms.
(*Only a Commonwealth Attorney or a Police Officer can act on the report to seek or petition for an ESRO by going to a magistrate or a judge of any court.)
“Through my experience, I've seen people go to court, get the treatment that they need, and at the end be able to successfully get their weapons back," added Detective Paris.
Prevent a Gun Tragedy. Speak Up!
To request an ESRO, call the Police non-emergency line at 703-691-2131. If there is an immediate danger, call or text 9-1-1.