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Can I restore my firearm rights in Oregon?

Under Oregon law, you can restore your right to possess firearms in one of three (3) ways.

1. Expungement

Expungement means your conviction is removed from your record, as if it never happened.  Once your conviction is expunged, not only is your conviction erased but your arrest record and your court file are sealed from public view. 

And of course, once your felony or domestic violence conviction is expunged, you regain your constitutional rights, including your right to own and purchase firearms. 

In general, you can expunge (i.e. set aside) most domestic violence misdemeanors, most Class C felony convictions, and some Class B convictions that are more than 20 years old.    

ORS 137.225 describes the expungement procedure in Oregon.  

2. Felony Reduction

If you cannot expunge your felony conviction, you may be able to successfully reduce your felony to a Class A misdemeanor, which also has the effect of restoring your Oregon gun rights. 

In general, the Court has the authority—but not the obligation—to reduce most Class C felonies once you have completed probation. 

ORS 161.705 describes the felony reduction process in Oregon. 

3. Petition to Restore Firearm Rights

If you cannot expunge or reduce your felony conviction, you can file a written motion to restore your firearm rights in the county circuit court where you live. 

To restore your firearm rights, you have to convince a judge by “clear and convincing evidence” that you do not pose a danger to yourself or other people in the community.

ORS 166.274 sets forth the procedures and requirements for filing a firearm restoration motion

Exceptions

There are certain cases where you can never restore your gun rights--regardless of the circumstances.

A. You are serving a felony sentence 

Under Oregon law, you cannot restore your right to possess firearms if you are currently serving a felony sentence.  

You also cannot restore your firearm rights if less than one (1) year has passed since you have finished your sentence.

B. Measure 11 Crimes

In 1994, Oregon voters passed a ballot initiative that set mandatory minimum sentences for a large number of serious crimes. 

Measure 11 covers a large number of violent crimes and sex offenses.  

Under Oregon law, you cannot restore your firearm rights if you have been convicted of any Measure 11 crime.  

Here are the Measure 11 crimes and their respective minimum sentences, which are listed in ORS 137.700: 

  • Murder in the First Degree
  • Murder in the Second Degree
  • Attempted Aggravated Murder
  • Attempted Murder
  • Manslaughter in the First Degree
  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree
  • Rape in the First Degree
  • Rape in the Second Degree
  • Assault in the First Degree
  • Assault in the Second Degree
  • Robbery in the First Degree
  • Robbery in the Second Degree
  • Kidnapping in the First Degree
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree
  • Arson in the First Degree
  • Sodomy in the First Degree
  • Sodomy in the Second Degree
  • Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree
  • Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree
  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree
  • Compelling Prostitution

You also are permanently ineligible to restore your gun rights if you an equivalent out-state conviction.  This includes, for example, a murder conviction in Washington State court or a violent robbery in federal court.  

C. Felony Convictions Involving Firearms

You also cannot restore your firearm rights if you have been convicted of a "person" felony that involves the use of a firearm or deadly weapon.  

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission classifies a long list of felonies as "person" felonies.  All of the mandatory minimum offenses listed above qualify as "person" felonies.  Others include:  

  • Aggravated Murder
  • Felony Murder
  • Negligent Homicide
  • Rape in the Third Degree
  • Kidnapping in the First Degree
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree
  • Incest
  • Sodomy in the First Degree
  • Possession of Material Depicting Sexually Explicit Conduct of Child
  • Burglary in the First Degree 
  • Arson in the First Degree
  • Aggravated Harassment
  • Escape in the First Degree
  • Unlawful Use of a Weapon

You also are permanently ineligible if you have an equivalent out-of-state conviction--a sexual assault conviction in Washington, for instance--involving the use of a firearm or deadly weapon.

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