Unlawful possession of a firearm is a crime under Oregon law. Depending on the charge, you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor or a more serious felony.
Here are the most commonly charged gun crimes in Oregon.
1. Unlawful possession of a firearm
ORS 166.250 makes it a crime to possess a firearm under the following circumstances:
- You are under 18 years old
- You have been convicted of a felony
- You have been committed to the Oregon Health Authority after a finding of mental illness
- You are subject to a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms
To unlawfully “possess a firearm” means one of the following:
- Carrying a concealed firearm on your person without a valid concealed handgun license
- Possessing a handgun that is concealed and accessible to any person within a vehicle
- Exception: You have secured your gun in a locked trunk or stored it within a locked passenger compartment.
Unlawful possession of a firearm is a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 364 days in jail and a fine of $6,250.
2. Felon in Possession of a Firearm
As you might imagine, if you are a convicted felon, you cannot possess or own a firearm—regardless of the circumstances. This law is set forth in ORS 166.270.
Felon in possession of a firearm is a Class C felony, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 5 years in state prison and a $125,000.
My felony was in a different state. Can I still be charged under this statute?
Under ORS 166.270, a felon is any person who has been convicted of any felony in any state or federal court, not just in Oregon.
Example: You are living in California and are convicted of a felony. But let's assume that crime is not considered a felony in Oregon. Five years later, you move to Beaverton and are arrested for carrying a pistol. You can be charged as a “felon in possession” because you were convicted of a crime that qualifies as a felony under California state law.
Are there any exceptions to this law?
Yes. There are two exceptions.
You cannot be charged as a felon in possession of a firearm if one of the following applies:
- You only have one (1) felony conviction on your record and you have been released from prison or discharged from parole or probation for more than 15 years since the date of this offense
- Your felony conviction has been expunged under ORS 166.274. Or your out-of-state felony conviction has been expunged under expungement procedures that are similar to the expungement procedure in Oregon.
Example: You committed the crime of felony assault in Milwaukie in June 2004. You were convicted and sentenced to prison out of Clackamas County Circuit Court. You were released from prison in 2013, and you were discharged from parole in June 2018. Later that month, you are arrested for possessing a handgun.
You can be charged as a felon in possession because only 14 years have elapsed between the date of your offense (June 2004) and date of your new offense (June 2018).
3. Unlawful Use of a Weapon
It is a crime to unlawfully use a weapon under the following circumstances:
- You attempt to unlawfully use a dangerous or deadly weapon against another person
- You intentionally discharge a firearm within a residential area or within an area classified as an “urban growth area” or in the direction of any person or building that is within range of your weapon
- Police officers or military personnel performing their lawful duties
- You are engaged in lawful self-defense
- You are lawfully engaged in hunting
Unlawful use of a weapon is a Class C felony.
4. Mandatory Minimum Firearm Offenses
In Oregon—as in many states—you face minimum mandatory prison time for using or threatening to use a firearm during the commission of a separate felony (i.e. burglary, robbery, assault).
Oregon's mandatory minimum firearm penalties are found in ORS 161.610.
- First offense: You face a minimum prison sentence of five (5) years for your first conviction
- Second offense: You face a minimum prison sentence of 10 years for your second offense
- Third offense: You face a minimum prison sentence of 15 years for your third offense