Weapons Charges in Oregon

Learn about Oregon’s laws that prohibit possession, concealed carrying, or use of guns or other dangerous weapons by certain people and in certain situations.

Oregonians are guaranteed the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Oregon Constitution (Art. I, § 27). However, that right is not unlimited. Like all other states, Oregon has laws that limit who can carry a gun or other dangerous weapon—and where. Read on for details.

Carrying Concealed Guns Without a License

Oregon is an “open carry” state, meaning that most people are allowed to carry firearms openly without a permit. However, carrying a concealed firearm, either on your body or in a vehicle where it’s readily accessible, is a Class A misdemeanor unless you:

  • have a concealed carry license
  • are a law enforcement officer or military member, or
  • are hunting or fishing with a license.

(Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.250, 166.260, 166.291 (2019).)

Penalties for Misdemeanors and Felonies in Oregon

To learn about the legal penalties for the different classes of crimes discussed here, see Oregon misdemeanor crimes and Oregon felony crimes.

Illegal Possession of Firearms in Oregon

Several groups of people aren’t allowed to have firearms in Oregon, including anyone who:

  • is under 18 years old (except with parental consent, while hunting, or during other legal activities like target practice)
  • has been convicted of a felony or a juvenile offense that would’ve been a felony or violent misdemeanor if the offender was an adult,
  • has previously killed or injured someone with a gun, whether on purpose, recklessly, or carelessly (unless the person is a peace officer, military servicemember, or is now carrying a gun for self-defense), or
  • is prohibited from gun possession because of mental illness.

The state also prohibits possession of both firearms and ammunition if you’ve been convicted of stalking or a domestic violence misdemeanor, or if you’re subject to a domestic violence restraining order. In general, violation of these prohibitions is a Class A misdemeanor, but felons may be charged with a Class C felony for having a firearm. (Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.250, 166.255, 166.270(5), 166.300 (2019).)

It’s a Class B felony in Oregon to possess a machine gun, short-barreled rifle, or firearms silencer. However, it’s a defense to the crime if the gun or silencer was properly registered under federal law. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.272 (2019).)

Oregon’s Red Flag Law

Under Oregon’s “red flag law,” courts may issue “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPOs) prohibiting possession of guns or any deadly weapons by individuals (known as “respondents”) who present a risk of suicide or injuring someone else in the near future. Relatives or members of the respondent’s household, as well as law enforcement officers, may file petitions for an ERPO. The order will remain in effect for a year, unless the respondent requests a hearing or a petition to end the order—and is successful at the hearing. Violation of an ERPO is a Class A misdemeanor if the order was issued after the respondent appeared at a hearing (or didn’t request a hearing). If found guilty, violators will be prohibited from having firearms for five years, in addition to the misdemeanor penalty. (Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.525—166.543 (2019).)

Illegal Possession of Dangerous Weapons

Possession of a firearm—or anything that’s used as a dangerous weapon—in a public building in Oregon (including a school) is a Class C felony, unless you have a concealed handgun license, are a law enforcement officer, or are otherwise authorized to have the weapon at that building.

It’s a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon for most felons to have dangerous weapons other than firearms, like Tasers or certain stun guns, switchblades, slungshots, daggers, and metal knuckles. Possession of bombs or similar destructive devices is a Class C felony for anyone except on-duty military, police, firefighters, or those with legal authorization for explosives. (Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.270, 166.370, 166.382 (2019).)

Unlawful Use of Weapons

Oregon also has several criminal laws addressing the use of weapons, including:

  • pointing a gun at someone, except in self-defense (punishable by a $10 to $500 fine and/or 10 days to six months in county jail)
  • possessing or trying to use a dangerous weapon unlawfully against someone, or discharging a gun, explosive device, bow and arrow, or crossbow without legal authority in city limits or urban residential areas unless you’re legally defending life or property (Class C felony)
  • carelessly wounding someone with a firearm or bow and arrow (Class B misdemeanor, plus ineligibility for hunting license for 10 years), and
  • recklessly or knowingly discharging a firearm at a school (Class C felony).

(Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.180, 166.190, 166.220, 166.370 (2019).)

Obtaining Legal Assistance

A conviction for a weapons violation can have serious consequences, including time in prison and hefty fines. You should talk to an Oregon criminal defense lawyer if you've been charged with a crime as a result of your use or possession of a weapon—or if you’re simply wondering whether you may have a gun legally. An attorney can tell you how Oregon law applies to your situation, what to expect in court, and how to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

Look Out for Changes in the Law

States can change their laws at any time, so it’s a good idea check the current Oregon statutes using this search tool. Court decisions may also affect how laws are interpreted and applied—another good reason to consult an attorney if you're concerned about actual or potential weapons charges.

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