In 2021, Oregon enacted a safe storage law that requires the owner or possessor of a firearm to, at all times that the firearm is not carried by or under the control of the owner, possessor or authorized person, secure the firearm:
(A) With an engaged trigger or cable lock;
(B) In a locked container; or
(C) In a gun room.
A firearm is not considered secured if:
(A) A key or combination to the trigger or cable lock or the container is readily available to a person the owner or possessor has not authorized to carry or control the firearm; or
(B) The firearm is a handgun, is left unattended in a vehicle and is within view of persons outside the vehicle.
Violations of the law are civil infractions however the penalties increase if if a minor (under 18 years old) obtains an unsecured firearm as a result of the violation and the owner or possessor of the firearm knew or should have known that a minor could gain unauthorized access to the unsecured firearm.
Additionally, if a owner or possessor of a firearm violates the safe storage law and, as a result, the firearm is used to injure a person or property within two years of the violation, the injured party may bring a civil action against the owner or possessor and the court must find that the owner or possessor was negligent (this is a legal standard known as “negligence per se).
The new law also requires a person who delivers or otherwise transfers a firearm to a minor to directly supervise the minor’s use of the firearm. Failure to do so constitutes negligence per se in a civil action.
A person who delivers or otherwise transfers a firearm to a minor may delegate to another person, with the consent of the other person and the minor’s parent or guardian, the duty to supervise the minor’s use of the firearm. If the duty to supervise is delegated to another person, the person assumes the duty to supervise.
There are exceptions to this duty to supervise when the firearm is a long gun and:
(A) The firearm is transferred to a minor in accordance section 166.470, and, as a result of the transfer, the minor is the owner of the firearm; or
(B) The firearm is temporarily transferred to a minor by the minor’s parent or guardian or by another person with the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian, for the purpose of hunting or target shooting at a shooting range, shooting gallery or other area designed for the purpose of target shooting. This exception applies only during the time in which the minor is engaged in activities related to hunting or target shooting.
If a person transfers a firearm and a criminal background check is required prior to the transfer, the person must transfer the firearm with an engaged trigger or cable lock; or in a locked container.
A gun dealer must post in a prominent location a notice, in block letters not less than one inch in height, that states, “The purchaser of a firearm has an obligation to store firearms in a safe manner and to prevent unsupervised access to a firearm by a minor. If a minor or unauthorized person obtains access to a firearm and the owner failed to store the firearm in a safe manner, the owner may be in violation of the law.”1
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- 2021 SB 554.