In November 2022, Oregon voters enacted a gun safety ballot initiative titled Measure 114 (“The Reduction of Gun Violence Act”) that, among other things, requires a permit to be authorized to purchase or acquire firearms. As discussed below, this permit is issued pursuant to a fingerprint background check, safety training requirements, and law enforcement vetting. Once issued, the permit is generally valid for five years and makes a person eligible to purchase any number of firearms, although a permit holder must still generally purchase and acquire firearms through licensed gun dealers, pursuant to a point-of-sale background check.
To obtain the permit to purchase firearms, Oregon’s new law requires a person to:
- Submit an application in person to their local law enforcement agency (referred to as the “permit agent”) (either the local police chief or county sheriff with jurisdiction over the person’s place of residence, or these chief law enforcement officers’ designees).1
- Sign the application in front of a permitting agent, present photo ID, submit fingerprints, and get photographed by the permitting agent.2
- Provide proof that they completed an approved firearm safety course that includes review of relevant laws, safe storage practices, and hands-on demonstration of firearms handling and firing with a law enforcement-certified instructor.3
- Pass a completed, fingerprint-based background check.4
- Pay an initial background check and licensing fee of up to $65 (or $50 for a renewal).5
The local law enforcement agency that receives the application is generally required to issue a permit within 30 days of receiving an application if the applicant successfully passed the completed background check and completed these steps, unless the agency finds reasonable grounds to conclude that “the applicant has been or is reasonably likely to be a danger to self or others, or to the community at large, as a result of the applicant’s mental or psychological state or as demonstrated by the applicant’s past pattern of behavior involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence.”6
Once issued, the permit is valid for five years, unless it is revoked because the person is no longer qualified.
Oregon’s law provides for an appeal process when applicants are denied a permit, or when their permit is revoked.7 If the application for a permit is denied, the permit agent (law enforcement agency) is required to provide the reasons for the denial in writing and to mail that denial by certified mail, restricted delivery, within 30 days after the application. If no decision is issued within 30 days, the application may seek review utilizing the same appeal process for applicants who are denied. To utilize the appeals process, a person may petition the circuit court in their county of residence to review their permit denial, nonrenewal, or revocation.8 The petition must be filed within 30 days after receiving notice of a denial or revocation.9
Process for Buying Firearms with a Permit:
Oregon law generally requires firearm sales and transfers to be conducted by or processed through a licensed gun dealer, pursuant to a background check and other requirements. Oregon’s new permit-to-purchase ballot initiative requires gun dealers at the point of sale to both (1) verify that a prospective firearm purchaser or transferee has a valid permit to purchase a firearm and (2) contact the Department of State Police conduct a background check.10 At a gun show, sellers who are not gun dealers are similarly required to verify that the transferee has a valid permit to purchase a firearm.11 It is a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly sell or deliver a firearm to a purchaser or transferee who does not have a valid permit to purchase a firearm in violation of this law.12
Renewing a Permit:
As noted above, a permit to purchase is valid for five years from the date of issuance, unless it is revoked earlier. A person may renew an unexpired permit by repeating the same procedures required for an initial permit application, except that:
- A full finger print set does not need to be taken again if the original set has been retained by the permit agent or is otherwise available
- The person does not need to complete a firearms safety training course again.
- The maximum cost of the renewal fee is $50.
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- See Measure 114, Section 4, subd. (1)(a).
- See Measure 114, Section 4, subd. (1)(c), (d).
- See Measure 114, Section 4, subd. (1)(b)(D).
- See Measure 114, Section 4, subd. (1)(b), (e).
- See Measure 114, Section 4, subd. (1)(b)(E).
- See Measure 114, Section 4, subd. (1)(b), (e).
- See Measure 114, subd. 5.
- See Measure 114, Section 5, subd. (5).
- See O.R.S. 166.412(2)(a), (d); 166.435(3)(a), (d) (as amended by Measure 114, Sections 6 and 7).
- O.R.S. 166.436(2), 3(c); 166.438(1)(a)(A) (as amended by Measure 114, Sections 8 and 9).
- O.R.S. 166.412(14)(as added by Measure 114, Section 6).