Three Interventions Toolkit

A digital toolkit featuring three interventions to address firearm injury and death: Firearm Safe Storage, Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights, & Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO)

In Washington State, three in every four firearm deaths are suicides. Access to firearms triples the risk of suicide. Empathetic conversation about firearm safety and mental health is associated with more people using safe gun storage, reducing the risk of preventable injury and death. Washington State provides three critical interventions to support an individual in crisis:

  • Firearm Safe Storage provides an effective way to keep you and your family safe. Safe storage sites provide temporary firearm storage options outside the home. HIPRC’s Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program has created Washington State’s first-ever “Firearm Safe Storage Map,” which helps people in crisis identify local options for temporary, voluntary firearm storage.
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) allow families or law enforcement to petition a judge to restrict individual possession and purchase of firearms using a civil order.
  • Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights (Voluntary Do-Not-Sell) lets people voluntarily and confidentially restrict immediate access to firearm purchases.

Extreme Risk Protection Order

Watch an explainer video here.

An Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which voters approved in 2016 through Initiative 1491, is one way to protect someone you care about from harming themselves or others with firearms. Before and during times of crisis, ERPOs can help you intervene to keep the people you care about safe.

  • An ERPO is a civil order that allows a family or household member or a member of law enforcement to petition a judge to restrict individual possession and purchase of firearms when you worry that an individual’s behavior indicates they might be at substantial risk of harming themselves or others.

How to use an ERPO:

  1. You can file a temporary ERPO (also called an ex parte order) petition at the county clerk’s office at the county’s superior court, which lasts 14 days or until first hearing.
  2. You can also ask your health care provider for help, and they can tell law enforcement about the situation to get assistance. You can also contact law enforcement directly.
  3. A judge will determine if a temporary ERPO is needed. This most often occurs on the same day you file the petition.
  4. If approved, the order will be granted. Law enforcement will enforce the order to the respondent and remove firearms from the home.
  5. The final ERPO hearing is held to decide if a full ERPO is needed. The respondent may challenge petition at this time.
  6. If granted, the ERPO will be in effect for one year. The respondent will not be able to be in possession of nor purchase any new firearms.

Why use an ERPO?

ERPOs can keep at-risk loved ones safe from a suicide attempt or an attempt to harm others with a firearm. ERPOs are an effective tool to prevent suicide. One study found that for every 10 to 20 ERPOs granted, 1 suicide was prevented. ERPOs may also be useful for preventing mass shootings, homicides, and intimate partner shootings.

Firearm Safe Storage

Watch an explainer video here.

Safe Storage of your firearms to a place outside your household can reduce the availability and immediate access to lethal means for people in crisis. It will help prevent suicide or self-harm, is voluntary and allows you to retrieve the gun when the crisis has passed.

  • After seeking support from their physician or health care provider, many families ask what they can do to protect loved ones who may be struggling with depression or other serious mental illness.
  • In some instances, safe storage of firearms in the home may not be enough to remove the risk.
  • For gun-owning families, there are many options for lowering the risk of harm by moving firearms out of the home.
  • Options include the temporary storage of firearms in an out-of-home safe storage location. A trusted adult outside the household can lock and safely store firearms.

How to use safe storage:

  1. The Washington Firearm Safe Storage Map shows gun shops, shooting ranges and police stations where you can temporarily store firearms outside of your home.
  2. Call ahead to learn the exact process for bringing your firearm in for storage.
    • Before you or someone you trust takes your firearms to a safe storage location, you should first contact the location and ask about:
      • The process for storing.
      • Any costs.
      • Whether a background check will be conducted when your firearms are returned.
      • Any limits on the length of time guns can be stored.

Many retailers consider offering storage on a case-by-case basis; please reach out to them to discuss whether they can accommodate your request. Do not carry firearms into a police station without calling in advance. Lock firearms in a case or leave them locked in your truck or car while making arrangements with law enforcement. Some locations have pick-up services; you may ask about that when you call.

Why use safe storage?

By being proactive about firearm safety and access, you can protect yourself and loved ones from firearm injury or suicide.


Storage List

Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights

Watch an explainer video here.

Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights (Voluntary Do-Not-Sell) is a firearm safety and suicide prevention strategy to keep you and your family safe. In Washington state, an individual who is concerned about suicidal thoughts may voluntarily ask to be put on a Do-Not-Sell list used during the background check process. This request is fully reversible, and may happen in consultation with your medical provider. The goal is to reduce suicide risk by voluntarily and confidentially restricting immediate access to firearm purchase.

  • Mental health crises can impact anyone, and many suicide attempts are impulsive. In Washington State, three in every four firearm deaths are suicides. Suicide attempts using firearms are nearly always lethal, with no “second chance” to get needed help.
  • By being proactive about access to a firearm, you can protect yourself and loved ones from firearm injury or suicide.

How to use Voluntary Do-Not-Sell:

  1. Individual files Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights at a county clerk’s office (requires photo ID).

  2. Information is submitted to national database to restrict firearm purchases.

  3. Individual can remove their name after a week at the same county clerk’s office where they originally filed. At that time, all documentation is destroyed.

Why use Voluntary Do-Not-Sell?

Stops impulsive firearm purchases at a time when you or a loved one feels actively suicidal. It can be easily reversed by the individual when no longer needed.

Video Explainers on Interventions

Firearm Safe Storage

Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPOs)

Voluntary Waiver of Firearm Rights


More Resources

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Petition for an ERPO when an individual’s behavior indicates substantial risk.

Visit Site

Forefront Suicide Prevention

Learn more about suicide prevention resources.


King County Crisis Connections

If you need support, call 2-1-1.

Visit Site

This web site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician. No physician-patient relationship is created by this web site or its use. Neither HIPRC, the University of Washington, nor its employees, nor any contributor to this web site, makes any representations, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.

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