Saving Lives. Preventing Tragedies. Protecting Rights.

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Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention Orders (CARR Orders) are a safe and effective way to prevent tragedy and save lives. Wondering how they work? We sat down with Sandy Hook Promise Co-Founder and Managing Director, Mark Barden, to answer common questions about this important way to protect families and communities. 

Right now, more people across the country are experiencing life-changing crises because of the pandemic. Millions of people have suffered personal and financial loss, and suicide rates are on the rise nationwide. We need to do everything we can to help in these moments of crisis to prevent tragedy and stop violence before it happens. That’s why I have to tell you about CARR Order legislation.

These days, it’s not too hard to imagine that your family member has recently lost their job and is experiencing financial hardship. Their relationship with their partner is on the rocks too.

Your family member has expressed a desire to not live anymore and may even be thinking about ending their own life. They have ready access to firearms. This is when a CARR Order can save lives.

What would I do if my loved one was in crisis?

With a CARR Order, there is something you can do. With the help of law enforcement, you petition a court to show that your family member is in imminent danger of hurting themselves. The facts in your petition must show the danger is imminent​ – meaning it could happen at any moment, not far off in the future. ​There is a penalty for filing a false petition. 

Once your family member is protected by a CARR order, they don’t have ​access to a gun to harm themselves. Then, they have a chance to seek help. And when they’re better, the court cancels the order, the firearm is returned, and tragedy is averted. 

CARR Orders can also be useful to prevent mass violence. If your family member indicates an imminent intent to harm others, a CARR Order can prevent that from happening. By temporarily separating that family member from their firearms, you can help keep the public and that member of your family safe, while protecting that family member’s individual rights. 

Wondering what makes a crisis different from a mental illness? Learn more here.

How do CARR Orders Protect People?   

Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention Orders do exactly what they say. They prevent tragedy while protecting an individual’s right to own firearms. They allow gun owners and those with access to guns to be temporarily separated from firearms in a moment of crisis. This only happens if they specifically express thoughts of hurting themselves or others. By getting help before things turn tragic, CARR Orders allow gun owners in crisis to get help before they misuse their guns and lose the right to own their firearms entirely. 

This goes hand-in-hand with our mission at Sandy Hook Promise. We teach people the warning signs of violence and how to take action to prevent a tragedy. CARR Orders provide a tool to intervene when a life-threatening crisis is taking place.  

Everyone experiences moments of temporary crisis, gun owners included. CARR Orders can help in those moments and prevent the loss of life. CARR orders help increase public safety by giving certain people – such as family members and law enforcement – the ability to take meaningful steps to prevent a tragedy. You can prevent tragedies when the most lethal means of causing harm to self or others – a firearm – is temporarily removed from the equation. 

Who are the key players in a CARR Order? 

From start to end, CARR Orders can involve several different people. Here are the main players you should know about. 

The Petitioner: This is the individual who identifies warning signs and files a petition with the court to pursue a CARR Order. 

The Respondent: This is the at-risk individual who is the subject of the petition. If approved, the respondent is the individual who will be temporarily separated from their firearm. 

Why don’t CARR orders violate my Second Amendment right? 

Your right to own a firearm is protected by the Second Amendment. And like any other similar right, it can have reasonable restrictions. These limits – such as prohibiting violent felons from owning firearms – are necessary to ensure the safety of your family, your community and beyond. 

In the case of CARR orders, what makes the restriction reasonable is its temporary nature. It’s also a preventive measure. If an individual does take harmful action with a firearm, that might be considered a felony. People with felony records do not have the right to bear arms. So, think of CARR Orders as an “in-between” step to avoid behavior that could revoke the right to bear arms entirely. 

Do criminal records include CARR Orders? 

No. CARR Orders are a civil matter. Since they can prevent the misuse of a firearm, an approved order alone does not produce a criminal record.  

What about due process? 

CARR Orders have built-in steps to ensure due process. Here are some examples: 

  • After a CARR Order is requested, only a judge can decide if it will be granted. 
  • If the petition to the court includes false facts, there should be a penalty to the petitioner. 
  • The respondent should be informed they can be represented by counsel. 
  • If a long-term CARR order is issued, the respondent should have a chance to ask the judge to cancel it. 
  • The respondent’s record should be cleared if the CARR order is denied. 

When it comes to CARR orders, what’s the bottom line? 

CARR orders save lives. They are a safe and effective tool for protecting gun owners – and those with access to firearms – in their moment of crisis. 

Strong Second Amendment states have the responsibility to protect gun owners in their moment of greatest need. 

Acting before a gun owner jeopardizes their right to bear arms – or loses that right altogether – goes hand-in-hand with an individual’s Second Amendment rights. 

Because CARR orders allow for action when it is needed most, it positions strong Second Amendment states as leaders in promoting public safety while protecting the right to bear arms. 

How Can I help enact CARR Order Laws?

In Kentucky, Sandy Hook Promise is actively working to advance a bipartisan CARR bill. This bill is a prevention tool that would allow authorities to temporarily remove firearms from a person found to be at risk of harming themselves or others. Republican and Democratic lawmakers came together to write this legislation that helps gun owners. It ensures public safety while preserving due process and the individual’s right to own firearms. You can take action now to support this lifesaving bill.