Guns in Oregon: Packing Heat?

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Part 3 in a 3-Part Series Guns In Oregon

Join KVAL News 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. - Oregon is a traditional right to carry state, meaning state law allows you to legally carry your gun openly - such as in a holster in plain view - almost anywhere you want.

However, cities and counties can pass their own laws banning loaded guns in public places.
 

Federal law bans guns on school property, federal buildings and Indian reservations.

But on private property like a movie theater or a mall, those places have the right to set their own rules.

"Obviously it's alarming if you go into a public place such as a mall and someone is carrying a gun openly, though you may have the legal right to so, the mall can say, 'No you need to leave, this is alarming,' " John Umenhofer with Springfield police said.

Oregon Revised Statutes 166.291-297 govern where you can take a gun in Oregon and when you need a concealed weapons permit.

A concealed weapons permit gives you the right to carry a handgun out of view.

This is a permit earned from the state by taking gun safety classes and going through a background check. The process may take up to 45 days.

"If you have a concealed weapons permit you have the right to carry a weapon that is readily capable of firing," Umenhofer said.

But even with a concealed weapons permit, guns are still not allowed in state courthouses or any federal building.

The Lane County Sheriffs office, the department which issues these permits locally, advises permit holders to research the places they plan to go before they carry.

Bottom line: When and where you can legally take your gun it depends on where you are.

Portland, Salem and Oregon City have laws banning loaded guns in public places. In Lane County, no such law exists.