Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon imposes no restrictions on purchases or sales of multiple firearms.

See our Restrictions on Multiple Purchases or Sales of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Mental Health Reporting in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2009, Oregon enacted a law requiring the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board and the Oregon Judicial Department to provide the Department of State Police (“DSP”) with the minimum information necessary to identify persons who:

  • Have been committed by a court to the Oregon Health Authority or Department of Human Services based on a finding that the person is dangerous to self or others;
  • Are subject to a court order finding the person mentally ill and prohibiting the person from purchasing or possessing a firearm;
  • Have been found by a court to lack fitness to proceed during a criminal trial as a result of mental disease or defect;
  • Have been found “guilty except for insanity” of criminal conduct;
  • Have been found “responsible except for insanity” for an act under the Juvenile Code;
  • Have been placed under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board or the Oregon Health Authority under certain provisions of Oregon law; or
  • Have been committed to a state hospital or facility under certain provisions of Oregon law.2

Upon receipt of this information, DSP must “access and maintain the information and transmit the information to the federal government as required under federal law.”3 The agencies listed above must enter into agreements describing the access to this information.4 DSP must adopt rules describing the type of information to be transmitted and the method and manner of maintaining this information and transmitting this information to the federal government.5

Oregon law specifically exempts information about these mental commitments from privacy rules so that the court is required to transmit the minimum information necessary, as defined above, to DSP for the individuals described above to enable DSP to “maintain the information and transmit the information to the federal government as required under federal law.”6

In Oregon, if a court finds that there is a reasonable likelihood that a mentally ill person would constitute a danger to himself or herself or others or to the community at large as a result of the person’s mental or psychological state, the court must order that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.7 In such cases, Oregon requires courts to report such individuals to the sheriff of the county, who is required to enter the information into the Oregon Law Enforcement Data System.8

Oregon allows the persons listed above to petition for restoration of their eligibility to possess firearms under federal and state law, and provides for the reporting of individuals whose eligibility has been restored.9

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Oregon Background Checks section and the section entitled Oregon Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. []
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. []
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. []
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 181.740. “Minimum information necessary” means data elements or nominal information that is necessary or required under federal law to accurately identify the person and includes the person’s name, date of birth, gender and reference information that identifies the originating agency or court and enables the originating agency or court to locate an underlying record or file of a person described in this section. “Minimum information necessary” does not include any medical, psychiatric or psychological information, case histories or files of a person described in this section or any record or file of an originating agency or court. Id. For DSP’s rules regarding mental health reporting, see Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0010 et seq. []
  6. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 426.160, 427.293. []
  7. Or. Rev. Stat. § 426.130(1)(b)(D). []
  8. Id. []
  9. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.274. See also 2009 Ore. ALS 826. []

Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

The Oregon Legislature has specifically preempted certain areas of firearms regulation. Oregon Revised Statutes § 166.170 states:

(1) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate in any matter whatsoever the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition, is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly.

(2) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city or other municipal corporation or district may enact civil or criminal ordinances, including but not limited to zoning ordinances, to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition. Ordinances that are contrary to this subsection are void.

Local jurisdictions do have authority to enact the following specific firearm-related regulations:

  • Cities have the power to regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within the city’s boundaries, provided the ordinances do not apply to or affect, inter alia, a person discharging a firearm in the lawful defense of person or property, or on a public or private shooting range, shooting gallery or other area designed and built for the purpose of target shooting1;
  • Cities may also regulate the purchase of used firearms by pawnshops and secondhand stores2; and
  • Cities and counties may adopt ordinances regulating, restricting or prohibiting the possession of loaded firearms in public places, provided the ordinances do not apply to or affect, inter alia, a law enforcement officer or member of the military in the performance of official duties, a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun, or a person authorized to possess a loaded firearm while in or on a public building or court facility3.

A city, county or other municipal corporation or district may not, however, adopt ordinances that regulate, restrict or prohibit the possession or sale of firearms in a public building that is rented or leased to a person during the term of the lease.4.

Oregon counties also have authority to adopt ordinances that regulate, restrict or prohibit the discharge of firearms within their boundaries, provided the ordinances do not apply to or affect a person discharging a firearm:

  • In the lawful defense of person or property;
  • In the course of lawful hunting;
  • As a landowner or guest of a landowner, when the discharge will not endanger adjacent persons or property;
  • On a public or private shooting range, shooting gallery or other area designed and built for the purpose of target shooting;
  • In the course of target shooting on public land that is not inside an urban growth boundary or the boundary of a city, if the discharge will not endanger persons or property; or
  • Who is an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture discharging a firearm in the course of the lawful taking of wildlife, within the scope of his or her employment.5

The preemption provisions in sections 166.170 and 166.171 do not affect county ordinances regulating the discharge of firearms in effect on November 2, 1995.6 Ordinances regulating discharge on a shooting range, shooting gallery, or other target shooting area designed for such purpose are subject to sections 166.170 and 166.171.7 In addition, section 197.770(1) states that any “firearms training facility in existence on September 9, 1995, shall be allowed to continue operating until such time as the facility is not longer used as a firearms training facility.” A “firearms training facility” is an indoor or outdoor facility that provides training courses and issues certifications required for: 1) law enforcement personnel; 2) State Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel; or 3) nationally recognized programs that promote shooting matches, target shooting and safety.8

Any local government or special district ordinance or regulation in effect in 1996 or subsequently adopted that makes a shooting range a nuisance or trespass or provides for its abatement as a nuisance or trespass is invalid with respect to the shooting range.9 For information on statutes that provide shooting ranges with immunity from lawsuits, see the Oregon Immunity Statutes section.

In Langlotz v. Noelle, 39 P.3d 271 (Or. Ct. App. 2002), the Court of Appeals of Oregon upheld a Multnomah County background check form used to apply for a concealed handgun license that required more detailed information from applicants than state law mandates. The plaintiff had been denied a concealed handgun permit because he refused to answer certain questions on the application form. The plaintiff challenged the sheriff’s form on several grounds, including that the sheriff, in adding questions to the application form that are not expressly mentioned in section 166.291 (Oregon’s concealed handgun licensing statute), had acted contrary to section 166.170(1) by regulating firearms beyond what the state permitted.10 In allowing county sheriffs to require more detailed information on concealed weapons permit application forms than provided for under state law, the court stated that “[i]n enacting the statute that is the subject of this case, [Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.291], the legislature has ‘expressly authorized’ [the county sheriff] to regulate the possession and transportation of concealed firearms.”11

In Starrett v. Portland, 102 P.3d 728 (Or. Ct. App. 2004), the Court of Appeals of Oregon held that sections 166.170 and 166.173 do not preclude a city from leasing public property to a private party on terms that allow the private party to prohibit concealed handguns on the leased property. The court reasoned that an ordinance leasing public property to a private party is not an exercise of governmental regulation, and is therefore not subject to sections 166.170 and 166.173.12

In Oregon State Shooting Ass’n v. Multnomah County, 858 P.2d 1315 (Or. Ct. App. 1993), the Court of Appeals of Oregon reviewed preemption challenges to ordinances prohibiting possession of assault weapons for sale at the Multnomah County Exposition Center, and requiring a fee for background checks on all firearm purchases. The court invalidated the provision prohibiting the possession of an assault weapon for purposes of sale in the County Exposition Center, finding that the provision violated section 166.245 (a now-repealed statute similar to current section 166.173, but providing that counties and other political subdivisions may regulate the possession of loaded or unloaded firearms and ammunition in a public place).13 The court held that section 166.245 permitted local regulation of the possession, but not the sale, of firearms and ammunition.14

As to the imposition of fees for background checks in the ordinances, the court rejected plaintiffs’ argument that the fees regulated the sale of firearms and were preempted by section 166.245.15 The court found that the fees under both ordinances were not preempted by state law, as they compensated individuals who completed background checks for prospective firearms purchasers.16

In Doe v. Medford Sch. Dist., 549C, 221 P.3d 787, 791 (Or. Ct. App. 2009), the Court of Appeals of Oregon rejected a preemption challenge to a school district policy that prohibits its employees from possessing firearms on school district property or at school-sponsored events. An employee of the school district, who sought to possess a gun while teaching, argued that Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.170(1) preempted the district policy. While the appellate court disagreed with the trial court’s conclusion that Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.170(1) did not have preemptive effect, it agreed with the trial court’s ruling that the policy did not violate the statute because “the school district’s internal employment policy does not represent the sort of ‘authority to regulate’ firearms that the statute preempts.”17

In State v. Ward, 198 P.3d 443 (Or. Ct. App. 2008), the Court of Appeals of Oregon rejected a preemption challenge to a Portland ordinance that regulates the possession of loaded firearms on streets and highways, even if the gun was kept in a place to which the general public had no access. The defendant challenged his conviction for possession of a loaded firearm in a public place, arguing that Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.173 restricts local governments from prohibiting the carrying of a loaded firearm within a car on a public street.18 The appellate court concluded that nothing in the statute supported defendant’s contention that a loaded firearm, when carried in a public place, was outside the scope of local regulation merely because it was kept in a place to which the general public lacked access.19

Finally, in Portland v. Lodi, 782 P.2d 415 (Or. 1989), the Supreme Court of Oregon held that an ordinance prohibiting the carrying of a deadly weapon in a concealed manner, and defining deadly weapon to include pocket knifes, was preempted by state law. While state law also prohibits the carrying of a deadly weapon in a concealed manner, it had recently been amended to exclude pocket knifes.20 This legislative decision displaced the city’s ordinance.21

  1. section 166.172 []
  2. section 166.175 []
  3. section 166.173 []
  4. Section 166.174 []
  5. Section 166.171. []
  6. Section 166.176. []
  7. Section 166.176. []
  8. Section 197.770(2). []
  9. Section 467.136. []
  10. Langlotz, 39 P.3d at 274. []
  11. Langlotz, 39 P.3d at 274. []
  12. Starrett, 102 P.3d 728 at 733. []
  13. Oregon State Shooting Ass’n, 858 P.2d at 1322-23. []
  14. Id. at 1323. []
  15. Oregon State Shooting Ass’n, 858 P.2d at 1323-24. []
  16. Id. at 1323. []
  17. Medford Sch. Dist., 549C, 221 P.3d at 799. []
  18. Ward, 198 P.3d at 444-45. []
  19. Id. at 445. []
  20. Id. at 417-418. []
  21. Id. at 418. []

Dealer Regulations in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Oregon has no law requiring firearms dealers to obtain a state license or permit. However, firearms dealers are subject to state laws governing gun sales generally.

The Superintendent of State Police may adopt rules necessary for the provision of a security system to identify dealers who request a criminal history record check, and for the creation and maintenance of a database of the business hours of gun dealers.1

For laws requiring dealers to:

When a firearm is delivered by a dealer, it must be unloaded.2

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(10). []
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(9). []

Waiting Periods in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon has no law imposing a waiting period prior to the purchase of a firearm.

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon only requires reporting of certain firearm sales to law enforcement.1 Whenever a federal firearms licensee buys or accepts in trade a used firearm, that person must enter in a register the time, date and place of purchase or trade, the name of person selling or trading the firearm, the number of the identification documentation presented by the person and the make, model and manufacturer’s number of the firearm.2 A duplicate of the register must be hand delivered or mailed to the local law enforcement authority on the day of purchase or trade.3

Firearms dealers are required to retain a firearms transaction thumbprint form for five years after completion of the form.4 A law enforcement agency may inspect the records of a gun dealer relating to firearm transfers only with the consent of the gun dealer in the course of a reasonable inquiry during a criminal investigation or under the authority of a properly authorized subpoena or search warrant.5

Records of information obtained during a criminal records check request are exempt from disclosure under Oregon public records law.6 The Oregon Department of Public Safety may retain a record of information obtained during a criminal records check request for no more than five years.7

See our Retention of Firearm Sales and Background Check Records policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.427(2). []
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.427(1). []
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.427(2). []
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(2)(f). []
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(8). See Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.434 (making the requirements of section 166.412 applicable to all firearms). []
  6. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(7)(b), Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0010(4), Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0055(3). []
  7. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(7)(a), Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0055(2). []

Other Location Restrictions in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon law prohibits the intentional possession of a firearm while in or on a “public building.”1 This prohibition does not apply to persons licensed to carry a concealed handgun.2 “Public building” is defined to include:

  • A hospital;
  • Any “capitol building;”3
  • A public or private school, the grounds adjacent to each such building, and any site or premises being used exclusively for a student program or activity sponsored or sanctioned by the school;
  • A city hall or the residence of a state official elected by the state at-large;
  • The grounds adjacent to each of the aforementioned buildings; and
  • That portion of any other building occupied by an agency of the state or certain municipal corporations, other than a court facility.4

Any person who intentionally possesses a firearm in a court facility is criminally liable for a felony and must surrender that firearm to a law enforcement officer unless the presiding judge has entered an order permitting the possession of specified weapons in a court facility.5 This prohibition also does not apply to persons licensed to carry a concealed handgun.6

Any local correctional facility, lockup facility or temporary hold must prohibit firearms from the security area of the facility except in times of emergency as determined by the facility’s administrator.7

Oregon also prohibits the knowing possession of a firearm in a restricted access area of specified commercial airports.8

Oregon has no statutes prohibiting firearms in the following places, although administrative regulations may apply:

  • Parks;
  • Places of worship;
  • Bars or restaurants where alcohol is served;
  • Sports arenas;
  • Certain gambling facilities; or
  • Polling places.
  1. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.370. []
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.370(3)(d). []
  3. Capitol building is defined in Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.360(1). []
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.360(4). []
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.370(2). []
  6. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.370(3)(d). []
  7. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 169.076(6); 169.077(3); 169.078(4). []
  8. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 164.885(2). []

Guns in Schools in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon prohibits any person from intentionally possessing a loaded or unloaded firearm while in or on a public building.1 “Public building” includes a public or private school, and the grounds adjacent to each such building.2

Oregon’s prohibition on the intentional possession of a loaded or unloaded firearm in or on a public building includes colleges and universities, and the grounds adjacent to each such building.3

Exceptions to the prohibitions include concealed handgun licensees and persons possessing handguns on school property if possessed by a person who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing the firearm and the handgun is unloaded and locked in a motor vehicle.4

State regulations may also prohibit firearms at public Oregon colleges and universities.

In Oregon, a school district shall require expulsion from school for a period of not less than one year of any student who is determined to have:

  • Brought a firearm to school, onto school property under the jurisdiction of the school district, or to an activity under the jurisdiction of the school district;
  • Possessed, concealed or used a firearm in a school or on school property or at an activity under the jurisdiction of the school district; or
  • Brought to or possessed, concealed or used a firearm at an interscholastic activity administered by a voluntary organization approved by the State Board of Education.5

The policy shall allow a superintendent to modify the expulsion requirement for a student on a case-by-case basis.6 A school district board may consider and propose to a student who is under expulsion or to a student prior to expulsion alternative programs of instruction or instruction combined with counseling for the student that are appropriate and accessible to the student.7

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.370(1). []
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.360(4). []
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.370(1), 166.360(4). []
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.370(3)(d), (g). []
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.250(6)(a). []
  6. Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.250(6)(c). []
  7. Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.250(10). []

Guns in Vehicles in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon does not prohibit the open carrying of long guns in a vehicle.

Oregon generally prohibits the knowing possession of a concealed and readily accessible handgun within any vehicle without a license to carry a concealed handgun.1 A handgun is generally considered readily accessible if it is in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Oregon has special provisions applicable to vehicles that have no storage location that is outside the passenger compartment of the vehicle.2 A person may own, possess, or keep a handgun within his or her residence, including a recreational vessel or recreational vehicle while used as residential quarters.3

Oregon prohibits the operation of a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle with a loaded firearm in the operator’s possession.4 Concealed handgun permit holders are exempt from this prohibition.5

  1. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.250(1)(b). []
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.250(4)(b). []
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.250(2)(b). []
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 821.240(1). []
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 821.240(2). []

Open Carrying in Oregon

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Oregon does not prohibit the open carrying of handguns or long guns on the person in public.