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Oregon Firearms Laws

What is the minimum age to possess a firearm under Oregon law?

In Oregon (as in most states), you must be at least 18 years of age to possess a firearm.

There are two major exceptions, however: 

  • A minor may possess a firearm temporarily for hunting or target practice
  • A minor may possess a handgun (only) if the minor received the gun from the minor's parent or guardian or from another person with the consent of the minor's parent or guardian

Do you have to pass a background check to purchase a firearm in Oregon?

Like Washington, Oregon conducts what is known as universal background checks on potential gun buyers.

Under federal law, a federally licensed firearms dealer (FLL) must run a background check on anyone who wants to buy a gun.  The FFL will run a background check using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database to conduct a background check.  The NICS is a nationwide database of criminal history, protection orders, and arrest warrants.  An NICS check can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days, depending on your criminal record.

In 2015, Oregon passed a law requiring all Oregon firearms sellers to conduct a firearms sale through an FFL.  This means an FFL will be running a background check on a private Oregon buyer as if you were purchasing a gun from, let's say, a gun dealer located in Washington D.C., even though you are really just purchasing the gun from a seller physically located in Oregon. 

Oregon is what's known as a “point of contact” state for the NICS.  This means that the Oregon Department of State Police (DSP), and not the FBI or some other federal agency will be running the background check.  To do this, DSP will search not only NICS records but also separate Oregon state databases that may not be part of the NICS.  This includes Oregon's mental health records. 

You must pass a background check even if you are buying a gun from a private or licensed firearm seller.  In these cases, you and the seller will have to appear in person before a registered gun dealer and request that the gun dealer run a background check before you can finalize the transfer. 

In other words, Oregon closed what is commonly known as the “private sale loophole.” 

Exception:  Family Transfers

Under ORS 166.435, you can transfer a firearm a spouse or domestic partner without the need for a background check.  The law also carves out exceptions for a long list of other family members: 

  • Parent or stepparent
  • Child or stepchild
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent or grandchild
  • Aunt or uncle
  • First cousin
  • Niece or nephew

Furthermore, a background check is not required if you receive a firearm from the spouse or the domestic partner of any one of these designated people.  

Is there a mandatory waiting period after purchasing a handgun?

No. 

Oregon does not impose a waiting period before you can purchase a firearm. 

Do I have to register a handgun in Oregon?

No. 

Oregon does not require a prospective buyer to register a firearm through any type of government agency.

Can I carry an open weapon in public?

Yes.

Oregon is classified as an “open carry” state.  That is, you can carry a handgun or a pistol that is visible to members of the public. 

Some states, like Hawaii, require you to have a license to open carry in public.  But not Oregon. 

Can I carry a concealed firearm in public?

Yes, but only if you have a valid concealed handgun license (CHL). 

You can apply for a CHL through your local county sheriff's office. 

Possessing a firearm that is “concealed upon the person” is a crime under Oregon law.  You are also criminally liable for possessing a handgun that is “concealed and readily accessible to the person within any vehicle.”  This language comes from ORS 166.250. 

Unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 364 days in jail and a $6,250 fine. 

Can I keep a weapon in my home for protection?

Yes … under certain conditions.

Oregon is now one of 11 states that mandates “safe storage” requirements for firearms,

In September 2021, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 554.  SB 554 requires all gun owners to store their firearms in a gun room or in a locked safe when it is not being physically carried or otherwise under their control.  Additionally, you can store using gun using a trigger lock when not in use. 

The new law also requires gun owners to report a stolen firearm within 72 hours of realizing it's gone, with certain exceptions. 

The safe storage requirement does not apply in the following cases:

  • You are alone in your home with the weapon
  • You are at home with other people who are legally allowed to use the weapon

How can I restore my firearm rights in Oregon?

There are three (3) ways to restore your firearm rights in Oregon if you have lost them because of a criminal conviction, a mental health commitment order, or some other reason:

  • Expungement: removes the criminal conviction and restores your gun rights. You do nothave to live in Oregon to expunge your record. 
  • Felony Reduction:  restores your gun rights by getting your felony reduced to a simple misdemeanor that does not mandate a loss of gun rights.  You also do nothave to be an Oregon resident to take advantage of felony reduction.  
  • Motion to Restore Firearm Rights:  If expungement and felony reduction are not available, you can file a formal motion to restore your gun rights and show that you do not pose a danger to yourself or members of the community.  You must be an Oregon resident and file this motion in the county in which you live.  

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