Gun Laws in Oregon

Below is a FAQ on common questions pertaining to firearms in Oregon. We do our best to keep this as up to date as possible, but we are not lawyers. Please check laws for yourself and do not take this page as legal advice. That being said, I hope this page helps you! Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

Prohibited Places

Oregon statute 166.370 forbids firearms in “public buildings.” Subsection B says “this section does not apply to:… (d) A person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 to carry a concealed handgun.”

What does this mean? You shouldn’t take your gun into places like Post Offices, Schools, Libraries, and other public buildings without a valid license to carry concealed.

Can I Carry My Gun In My Car?

Yes, in most cases, you can carry your firearm in your car. Be aware, Oregon does localities to restrict loaded carry of firearms, “in public places” which, by state definition, includes your car. If you are in a place in Oregon that prohibits the carry of a loaded firearm in your vehicle, you must have the weapon unloaded, and not readily accessible. This means the gun should be in the trunk or a locked container.

Can I Open Carry In Oregon

Yes. As a state, Oregon allows the open carry of loaded firearms in places that are not prohibited. Remember, local governments have the ability to restrict the open carry of loaded firearms in Oregon. Places that restrict open carry include;

  • Astoria
  • Beaverton
  • Gladstone
  • McMinnville
  • Multnomah County
  • Newport
  • Oregon City
  • Portland
  • Salem
  • Tigard

Use of Force in Oregon

As a quick rule of thumb, a person can defend themselves when they reasonably believe that severe bodily harm or death are imminent.

SELF DEFENSE

      161.205 Use of physical force generally. The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

(1)(a) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person.

(b) Personnel of a public education program, as that term is defined in section 1, chapter 665, Oregon Laws 2011, may use reasonable physical force upon a student when and to the extent the application of force is consistent with section 3, chapter 665, Oregon Laws 2011.

(2) An authorized official of a jail, prison or correctional facility may use physical force when and to the extent that the official reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order and discipline or as is authorized by law.

(3) A person responsible for the maintenance of order in a common carrier of passengers, or a person acting under the direction of the person, may use physical force when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order, but the person may use deadly physical force only when the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent death or serious physical injury.

(4) A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to inflict serious physical self-injury may use physical force upon that person to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to thwart the result.

(5) A person may use physical force upon another person in self-defense or in defending a third person, in defending property, in making an arrest or in preventing an escape, as hereafter prescribed in chapter 743, Oregon Laws 1971.[1971 c.743 §21; 1981 c.246 §1; 2011 c.665 §10]

 

      Note 1: The amendments to 161.205 by section 10, chapter 665, Oregon Laws 2011, become operative July 1, 2012. See section 12, chapter 665, Oregon Laws 2011. The text that is operative until July 1, 2012, is set forth for the user’s convenience.

      161.205. The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

(1) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person. A teacher may use reasonable physical force upon a student when and to the extent the teacher reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order in the school or classroom or at a school activity or event, whether or not it is held on school property.

(2) An authorized official of a jail, prison or correctional facility may use physical force when and to the extent that the official reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order and discipline or as is authorized by law.

(3) A person responsible for the maintenance of order in a common carrier of passengers, or a person acting under the direction of the person, may use physical force when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order, but the person may use deadly physical force only when the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent death or serious physical injury.

(4) A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to inflict serious physical self-injury may use physical force upon that person to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to thwart the result.

(5) A person may use physical force upon another person in self-defense or in defending a third person, in defending property, in making an arrest or in preventing an escape, as hereafter prescribed in chapter 743, Oregon Laws 1971.

 

      Note 2: The amendments to 161.205 by section 11, chapter 665, Oregon Laws 2011, become operative June 30, 2017. See section 12, chapter 665, Oregon Laws 2011. The text that is operative on and after June 30, 2017, is set forth for the user’s convenience.

      161.205. The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

(1) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person. A teacher may use reasonable physical force upon a student when and to the extent the teacher reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order in the school or classroom or at a school activity or event, whether or not it is held on school property.

(2) An authorized official of a jail, prison or correctional facility may use physical force when and to the extent that the official reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order and discipline or as is authorized by law.

(3) A person responsible for the maintenance of order in a common carrier of passengers, or a person acting under the direction of the person, may use physical force when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order, but the person may use deadly physical force only when the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent death or serious physical injury.

(4) A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to inflict serious physical self-injury may use physical force upon that person to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to thwart the result.

(5) A person may use physical force upon another person in self-defense or in defending a third person, in defending property, in making an arrest or in preventing an escape, as hereafter prescribed in chapter 743, Oregon Laws 1971.

 

      Note 3: See second note under 161.015.

DEFENSE OF A THIRD PARTY

      161.209 Use of physical force in defense of a person. Except as provided in ORS 161.215 and 161.219, a person is justified in using physical force upon another person for self-defense or to defend a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force, and the person may use a degree of force which the person reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. [1971 c.743 §22]

 

      161.210 [Repealed by 1971 c.743 §432]

 

      161.215 Limitations on use of physical force in defense of a person. Notwithstanding ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using physical force upon another person if:

(1) With intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, the person provokes the use of unlawful physical force by that person; or

(2) The person is the initial aggressor, except that the use of physical force upon another person under such circumstances is justifiable if the person withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person the intent to do so, but the latter nevertheless continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful physical force; or

(3) The physical force involved is the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law. [1971 c.743 §24]

 

      161.219 Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person. Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:

(1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or

(2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or

(3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 §23]

 

      161.220 [Repealed by 1971 c.743 §432]

DEFENSE OF HOME & PROPERTY

      161.225 Use of physical force in defense of premises. (1) A person in lawful possession or control of premises is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate what the person reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person in or upon the premises.

(2) A person may use deadly physical force under the circumstances set forth in subsection (1) of this section only:

(a) In defense of a person as provided in ORS 161.219; or

(b) When the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent the commission of arson or a felony by force and violence by the trespasser.

(3) As used in subsection (1) and subsection (2)(a) of this section, “premises” includes any building as defined in ORS 164.205 and any real property. As used in subsection (2)(b) of this section, “premises” includes any building. [1971 c.743 §25]

 

      161.229 Use of physical force in defense of property. A person is justified in using physical force, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission by the other person of theft or criminal mischief of property. [1971 c.743 §26]

 

Concealed Carry Permit Requirements

In Oregon, the Concealed Carry license is relatively easy to acquire, compared to many other states. You must apply for a concealed handgun license in the county in which you reside.

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal alien who can document continuous residency in the United States for at least six months and has declared, in writing, to the INS your intent to acquire citizenship (Form N300).
  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Have no legal condition that would prohibit you from possessing a firearm under either Oregon or Federal law.
  • Have no outstanding warrants for your arrest.
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Services.
  • Not be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance.
  • Not be on any form of pre-trial release.
  • Not be required to register as a sex offender in any state.
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor, or found guilty of a misdemeanor within four years prior to application, except under ORS 161.295.
    Not be subject to a citation issued under ORS 163.735 or an order issued under ORS 30.866, 107.700 to 107.723 or 163.738 (e.g. Stalking or Restraining Orders).
  • Demonstrate competence with a handgun by any one of the following means:
    • Completion of any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife or a similar agency of another state if handgun safety was a component of the course;
    • Completion of any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course if handgun safety was a component of the course;
    • Completion of any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by law enforcement, community college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or a law enforcement agency if handgun safety was a component of the course;
    • Completion of any law enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, reserve law enforcement officers or any other law enforcement officers if handgun safety was a component of the course;
    • Presents evidence of equivalent experience with a handgun through participation in organized shooting competition or military service;
      Is licensed or has been licensed to carry a firearm in this state, unless the license has been revoked; or
    • Completion of any firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a firearms instructor certified by a law enforcement agency or the National Rifle Association if handgun safety was a component of the course.

Inheriting Firearms

Oregon, like much of the United States, does not register the ownership of a firearm to a specific person. Background checks are performed to determine your eligibility for ownership, they are not a registration. You can inherit a firearm in Oregon from a family member without any additional paperwork being filed.

Selling a Firearm in Oregon

Firearms may be sold to licensed dealers (Federal Firearms Licensees FFL’s) at any time. As of August 2015 private sale, also known as private party transfers are illegal in Oregon and must be handled by a licensed dealer. What does this mean? If you want to sell a gun to someone else in Oregon, you and the buyer must go to a licensed dealer (FFL) and have them perform the background check on your behalf for the sale.

The exception to the rule is when giving a firearm to a family member. We recommend anyone beyond immediate family members go through the background check and transfer process. We are happy to facilitate Private Party Transfers for $25/gun.

Background Check Delays

An issue that, unfortunately, faces many gun buyers is excessive delays. When a dealer performs the background check for the transfer of a firearm, they receive one of three responses; Proceed, Delayed, or Denied. In Oregon, OSP frequently extends these delays indefinitely and well beyond the 30days of validity for the original background check. This is inconsistent with both State and Federal laws regarding delays.

In the state of Oregon, as provided in the Dealer’s Yellow Book, ORS 166.412 (3) (c) has this to say about OSP’s responsibility to complete delayed background checks, “If the department fails to provide a unique approval number to a gun dealer or to notify the gun dealer that the purchaser is disqualified under paragraph (a) of this subsection before the close of the gun dealer’s next business day following the request by the dealer for a criminal history record check, the dealer may deliver the handgun to the purchaser.”

It is also important to know that Federal Law prohibits the release of a firearm until after the expiration of three business days, not counting the day on which the dealer asks OSP to conduct the check.

The bottom line? If, after three business days following the delay, OSP or NICS does not provide a response to the initial delay, the dealer may legally transfer the firearm to you.