In 2015, Oregon enacted a law to generally require firearm sales and transfers to be conducted by or processed through a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL), pursuant to a background check.1 The dealer is required to process the transaction as if the dealer were selling the firearm from their own inventory and must comply with all federal and state laws regulating firearms dealers and firearm transfers.
In 2022, Oregon voters also enacted a ballot measure to strengthen this background check process in multiple ways, including by ensuring that people could only obtain firearms if they actually passed a completed background check, and by requiring people seeking to acquire firearms to obtain a permit qualifying them to purchase or acquire firearms for five years, unless revoked. To obtain a permit under Oregon’s law, a person must apply to a local law enforcement permitting agency and pass a completed, fingerprint-based background check, among other requirements.2 More detailed information about this permit process is on the Licensing in Oregon page.
When purchasing or acquiring a firearm from either a firearms dealer or an unlicensed seller, Oregon law requires that the purchaser or transferee appear in person at a firearms dealer to process the transaction and background check.3 The purchaser is required to present valid ID and a valid permit to purchase firearms. The dealer will contact the Oregon Department of State Police to verify that the purchaser has a valid permit to purchase a firearm and request that the Department conduct a point-of-sale criminal history record check on the purchaser.
Once the dealer receives a unique approval number from the Department of State Police indicating that the purchaser has passed the background check and has a valid permit to purchase firearms, the gun dealer will enter the firearm into the gun dealer’s inventory and transfer the firearm to the buyer. If the dealer receives notification that the purchaser is prohibited by state or federal law from possessing or receiving the firearm or does not possess a valid permit to purchase firearms, the dealer must notify the seller and discontinue the transaction. A gun dealer may charge a reasonable fee for facilitating the firearm transfer.4
Certain temporary transfers and transfers to family members or law enforcement are excluded from these requirements. An unlicensed seller at a gun show is also generally not required to process the sale through a licensed dealer if they:
- Verify with the Department that the recipient has a valid permit to purchase firearms;
- Directly contact the Department of State Police to request a criminal background check prior to completing the transfer;
- Receive a unique approval number from the Department of State Police indicating that the recipient is qualified to complete the transfer; and
- Have the recipient complete the form created by the Department. The seller must retain the completed form for at least five years and make it available to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of criminal investigations.5
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