Risk Warrant/Jake Laird Law

Shape of the state of Indiana in orange

Indiana’s extreme risk law is named for a law enforcement officer – Jake Laird – who was shot and killed while responding to a call of a man walking in a neighborhood street with a rifle in August 2004. An investigation determined that earlier in the year, the shooter had been emergently detained and his firearms seized, but his firearms were subsequently returned to him because the law enforcement agency did not have the authority to hold them.1 The law was passed in 2005 by a near-unanimous vote in the state Senate and a unanimous vote in the state House. The law was amended in 2019 to clarify the process for judicial proceedings.

Under Indiana’s risk warrant law, a law enforcement officer may seize firearms from a person who poses a danger of injury to self or others.2

Law enforcement officers may seize firearms with a warrant that is served within 48 hours, or without a warrant during the normal course of law enforcement duties, but with later court approval.3 Officers seeking a warrant or wishing to retain firearms after seizure without a warrant must submit an affidavit that describes the dangerous person and their behaviors to the circuit or superior court.4 A court hearing is held within 14 days following the seizure where a judge determines if the individual subject to the warrant is dangerous and whether law enforcement agency may continue to hold the firearms or if they must be returned to the individual. If the judge rules against the individual,5 they may petition every 180 days for a finding that the individual is no longer dangerous to have their firearms returned.6

Indiana’s risk warrant law includes a hearing where the respondent is provided notice and an opportunity to participate; the respondent’s right to counsel (at no expense to the government); and the requirement of substantial and credible evidence when law enforcement intends to retain custody of the firearms.

1 Remembering Jake Laird, the officer whose death inspired Indiana’s ‘red flag’ law, IndyStar

2 Law enforcement may seize firearms from an individual who is “dangerous.” An individual is “dangerous” if (1) they pose an imminent risk of personal injury to self or others, or (2) it is probable the individual will present a risk of personal injury to self or others in the future and they (a) have a mental illness that may be controlled by medication, and has not demonstrated a pattern of voluntarily and consistently taking medication while not under supervision, or (b) there is a reasonable belief that the individual has a propensity for violent or suicidal conduct. Ind. Code § 35-47-14-1(a).

3 Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3

4 Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2

5 Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-6

6 Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8

Indiana's Risk Warrant/Jake Laird Law

Effective: July 1, 2005

Order Type Max Duration Burden of Proof Factors to Consider Who can petition for ERPO

EX Parte Order

(Emergency order, if applicable)



Probable cause

  • risk of injury to self or others;
  • propensity for violence or emotional unstableness;
  • mental illness that is not being treated
  • law enforcement

Final Order

(emergency order, if applicable)

Until terminated by the court

Clear and convincing

Factors to Consider
  • risk of injury to self or others;
  • propensity for violence or emotional unstableness;
  • mental illness that is not being treated
Who can petition for ERPO
  • law enforcement

Explore the following resources to learn more about Indiana’s law: