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

A. Felony Convictions Involving firearms

If you have been convicted of a so-called “person felony” under Oregon law and the offense involves the use of a firearm or deadly weapon.

What is an person felony?

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission classifies a long list of felonies as “person” felonies.  Here are some of the most commonly charged person felonies in Oregon:

  • Aggravated Murder
  • Felony Murder
  • Murder in the First Degree
  • Murder in the Second Degree
  • Manslaughter in the First Degree
  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree
  • Negligent Homicide
  • Rape in the First Degree
  • Rape in the Second Degree
  • Rape in the Third Degree
  • Kidnapping in the First Degree
  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree
  • Incest
  • Assault in the First Degree
  • Assault in the Second Degree
  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree
  • Sodomy in the First Degree
  • Possession of Material Depicting Sexually Explicit Conduct of Child
  • Burglary in the First Degree 
  • Robbery in the First Degree
  • Arson in the First Degree
  • Felony DUI
  • Aggravated Driving while Suspended or Revoked
  • Hit and Run Vehicle involving
  • 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.

B. Mandatory Minimum Offenses

You cannot restore your firearm rights in Oregon if you have been convicted of a “mandatory minimum” sentence as listed in ORS 137.700.  They include:

  • Rape in the First Degree
  • Sodomy in the First Degree
  • Robbery in the First Degree
  • Robbery in the Second Degree
  • Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree
  • Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Aggravated Vehicular Homicide

Most mandatory minimum offenses also qualify as “person felonies” as described above.

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