Oregon Statutes and Regulations Related to Gun Ownership

Guns in public schools? Background checks? Safe storage?

Background Checks: In 2015, Oregon passed a law requiring private or unlicensed firearm sellers to conduct background checks on private or unlicensed purchasers. Oregon law also requires a prospective purchaser to undergo a background check before buying a gun at a gun show. (ORS 166.438, 166.434).

If the background check is not completed within three business days, the gun seller may complete the gun sale. This loophole was added to the Brady Bill in 1993. The technical name is the default proceed rule but is better known as the Charleston Loophole.

Background checks are not required for immediate family members including parents, step parents, grandparents, spouses, domestic partners, siblings, children, step children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins and the spouse or domestic partners thereof. Law prohibits the sale or transfer of a firearm to anyone a person knows or reasonably should know is legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

Federal law requires a background check for purchases from federally licensed firearms dealers. (18 USC subsection 922(s), 922(t).)

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO): ERPOs allow family members, household members, and law enforcement officials to prevent tragedies by asking a court to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms. Petitioners must produce documented evidence that a person is threatening harm to self or others. www.courts.oregon.gov/forms/Documents/ERPOApplyInstr.pdf 

Child Access Prevention: Both Portland (PCC section 14A.60.050) and Multnomah County (Section 15.051) prohibit endangering a child by allowing access to a firearm.

The Oregon Legislature passed SB 554B which requires firearms to be secured unless “the owner or possessor of the firearm is close enough to the firearm to prevent another person who is not an authorized person from obtaining the firearm” [SB 554B Section 2(3)(a)]. Even if the unsecured firearm is used to commit a felony (similar to the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan), the gun owner would not face criminal charges and would still be allowed to possess and own firearms. The gun owner would, however, face a maximum fine of $2,000 and could face a civil lawsuit. 

Waiting period: Oregon does not impose a “cooling off” period between buying a gun and taking possession of the gun. 

Safety standards: Oregon does not require that guns meet any safety standards.

Assault weapons: Oregon does not limit the sale or possession of military-style semiautomatic assault rifles like an AR 15.

Extended capacity magazines: Oregon does not limit the number of rounds in a magazine except for hunting. Oregon Fish and Wildlife cartridge limit for bird hunting is 3. The cartridge limit for large game is 5. No limit exists in Oregon for shooting at people. Lift Every Voice Oregon has successfully placed Measure 114 on the November 2022 ballot. Measure 114 would limit magazine capacity to ten rounds.

License to purchase or possess a gun: Oregon does not require licensing or safety training before buying or possessing a firearm. Lift Every Voice Oregon has successfully placed Measure 114 on the November 2022 ballot. Measure 114 would limit magazine capacity to ten rounds.

License to carry a concealed handgun:
County sheriffs must issue a concealed handgun license (CHL) to anyone who meets requirements in ORS 166.291, unless “the sheriff has reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant has been or is reasonably likely to be a danger to self or others, or to the community at large.” ORS 166.293(2). At least one in 16 Oregon adults has a concealed handgun license. While some people have training, Oregon law does not require that an applicant even touch a gun to receive a CHL.

Concealed handgun license holders are permitted to bring loaded, hidden guns into public schools K-12 unless the school district prohibits the practice. Concealed handgun license holders are no longer permitted to bring guns into Oregon State Capitol Building. Portland Public School District prohibits people with concealed carry licenses from carrying firearms into Portland Public Schools. (Source)

Concealed carry reciprocity: Oregon does not allow people with concealed handgun licenses (CHL) from other states to carry concealed in Oregon. Gun owners from states bordering Oregon may request a CHL from border county sheriffs. 

Convicted Stalkers: Oregon prohibits people convicted of stalking misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms.

Domestic violence: Oregon prosecutes domestic abuse against abusers who have been involved as dating partners (Oregon closed the “Dating Partner Loophole”) in addition to current and former spouses, adults related by blood or marriage, persons presently or cohabiting with each other, and unmarried parents of a minor child.

Minimum age to purchase or possess a gun: Oregon law prohibits anyone under age 18 from possessing a gun unless possession would otherwise be lawful and (1) the gun is not a handgun and was transferred with the minor’s parent’s consent, or (2) the minor possesses the gun temporarily for a lawful purpose. ORS 166.250. Oregon law prohibits the sale or transfer of a firearm to anyone under age 18, with the same exceptions. ORS 166.470. Federal law prohibits federally licensed firearms dealers from selling a handgun to anyone under age 21. 18 USC subsection 922(b)(1).

Openly carrying firearms (Information obtained from Giffords Law Center): Oregon does not prohibit the open carrying of handguns or long guns on the person in public.

Portland, Tigard and Beaverton prohibit open carry of loaded firearms in their cities as allowed by ORS 166.173.

Firearms in vehicles (Information obtained from Giffords Law Center): Oregon does not prohibit the open carrying of long guns in a vehicle.

In June 2021, the Oregon legislature passed SB 554B which makes a crime of leaving a handgun unattended in a vehicle and within view of people outside of the vehicle (SB 554B, Section 3).

Oregon generally prohibits the knowing possession of a concealed and readily accessible handgun within any vehicle without a license to carry a concealed handgun. 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. 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.

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

  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).

Local gun laws: With a few exceptions, Oregon law preempts cities and counties from enacting local gun laws. ORS 166.170–166.176. 

In 2010, Portland enacted ordinances that are not preempted by state statute Portland §14A.60

  • Possession of Loaded Firearm in a Public Place 
  • Discharge of a Firearm 
  • Tear Gas and Stun Guns 
  • Explosives and Bottle Bombs 
  • Endangering A Child By Allowing Access To A Firearm 
  • Failure to Report Theft or Loss

In 2013, Multnomah County passed these laws: Multnomah County §15.051: 

  • Prohibit possession of a loaded firearm in a public place 
  • Prohibit discharge of a firearm within county’s boundaries 
  • Prohibit endangering a child by allowing access to a firearm 
  • Require that theft or loss of firearm be reported within 48 hours 
  • Extend curfew hours for minors on pa- role and probation for gun-related charge