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Know the Laws: Oregon

UPDATED October 25, 2016

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Below is information about state gun laws in Oregon.  A restraining order or criminal conviction may make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the OR Where to Find Help page to find domestic violence organizations and legal help in your area.

Basic info about Oregon's state gun laws

back to topI have a restraining order and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Probably not.  Federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser's right to have a gun if you have a restraining order against him/her that meets certain requirements - you can read more about this on our Federal Gun Laws page. 

Also, under Oregon law, if the abuser applies for a concealed handgun license, that license must be denied if the abuser:

  • has been served with a citation to appear in court for a civil stalking protective order;
  • has a civil stalking protective order againist him/her; or
  • has a restraining order to prevent abuse against him/her.*
If the abuser already has a concealed handgun license, that license can be revoked by the sheriff for any of these reasons listed above.**  For more information on how this process of revoking a handgun is initiated, you may want to inquire with a sheriff.  You can find a link to your local sheriff's office on our OR Sheriff Departments page.  

* O.R.S. § 166.291(1)(m)
** O.R.S. § 166.293(3)(a),(b)

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back to topIs there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a restraining order?

Here are some suggestions of what you can do:

  • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s).
  • Ask the judge to specifically include on the restraining order that the respondent is prohibited from having a gun.  If the judge agrees to do so, look to make sure that it is included on your order before leaving the courthouse.
If the judge takes away the guns, you may also want to ask the judge to:
  • Require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser's house and get them.
  • Explain what will happen to the abuser's guns (where they will be held).
  • Make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from your abuser.
  • Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.*
* Americans for Gun Safety; "Domestic Violence and Guns: A Guide to Laws that can Remove Guns from a Domestic Abuser." Note: This organization is now called Third Way, and no longer publishes this article on their site.

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back to topIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he have a gun?

Oregon state law says that it is illegal for a person convicted of a felony to have a gun in his/her possession at any time.*  Also, if the abuser does not already have a gun and s/he applies for a license to carry a concealed handgun, that license will be denied if s/he:

  • is a convicted felon;
  • has been convicted of a misdemeanor within the four years prior to the application for a gun license;
  • has been convicted of a drug offense or participated in a court-supervised drug diversion program (although there can be an exception for a one-time misdemeanor conviction for marijuana);
  • has an outstanding warrant for arrest;
  • is on pretrial release (while awaiting a criminal trial for a felony); or
  • is a registered sex offender in any state.**
If the abuser already has a concealed handgun permit, the permit can be revoked by the sheriff for any of the reasons listed above.***  For contact information for your local sheriff's department, go to our OR Sheriff Departments page.

Federal laws, which apply to all states, also restrict a person's right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of certain crimes.  Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

* O.R.S. § 166.250(1)(c)
** O.R.S. § 166.291
*** O.R.S. § 166.293(3)(a),(b)

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back to topHow can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access.   If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS.  Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

You can read more about the NICS in What will happen if the abuser tries to buy a gun when s/he isn't supposed to?

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