Guns in Oregon: Firearm Laws

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Part 1 in a 3-Part Series: Guns in Oregon

Join KVAL as we examine Oregon's gun laws, we will compare them to other states, find out what's legal and what isn't and we'll take a closer look at how it may be possible for criminals to get their hands on a firearm.

EUGENE, Ore --  The U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment gives Americans the right to posses a firearm, but not everyone can buy a gun.

Under Federal law you can't own a gun if you are a felon, a fugitive, illegal alien, committed to a mental institution or convicted of domestic abuse. You must also be 18 to buy a shotgun or long-gun and 21 to buy a handgun. 

But after that it's up to each state to regulate its own gun laws.

"I'd say that Oregon is middle of the road-ish," Alex Gardner, Lane Counties District Attorney said, adding that in Oregon it's not as easy to buy a gun as in other states.
Under Oregon law, when purchasing a gun from a dealer or at a gun show, dealers must do each of the following:

  • See Identification
  • Get a fingerprint
  • Do a Criminal Background check

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Oregon, no limit to the number of guns you can buy or own, and there is no gun registration.

But if you want to carry your gun concealed, you must first get a permit.

In comparison, other states have much stricter laws.

In New York, you must get a permit to purchase a handgun, register as a gun owner and register your gun.

California state has a 30-day waiting period law per handgun, meaning you must wait 30 days to buy another handgun. Your first handgun only requires a 10 day waiting period. 

Oregon's laws are more restrictive than federal law when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of people who have broken the law.

For example a person can not own a gun in Oregon if they have been convicted of certain misdemeanors including:

  • Menacing
  • Reckless Endangerment.
  • Stalking
  • Strangulation
  • Dishonorably Discharged from the Military

In addition, in October the City of Portland passed five gun control measures designed to keep guns out of children's hands and to exclude gun offenders from crime-ridden parts of town.

"It gives police an important set of tools that will help prevent more people from getting killed and injured by the illegal use of guns," Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. Gun rights advocates are expected to question the constitutionality of Portland's new gun control laws.

Law enforcement in Lane County said our gun laws balance gun access with gun protections. 

"The laws in Oregon are made to protect the law abiding citizens right to bear arms, and to not allow criminals to bear arms," John Umenhofer with Springfield police said. 

In Part 2 of Guns in Oregon, airing on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, KVAL News will take a look at possible loop holes in our laws that may let criminals get their hands on a firearm.