Mar 092013
 

Umatilla County Courthouse

An Oregon Concealed Handgun License is required if you wish to carry a concealed pistol on your person or in your car when in the state. It is legal to ‘open-carry’ in Oregon (with some restrictions) but why take a chance of freaking someone out by carrying a gun on your hip in the home of Portlandia?

To get a Concealed Handgun License in Oregon, one must submit a completed application to the Sheriff’s Office in person along with $65 in cash or check for the background check and finger printing. Each Sheriff’s Office has designed their own application based on the state’s requirements. The information required on each is very similar but do have minor differences such as whether they ask for references or not. Oregon is ‘must issue’ state for Oregon residents who meet the state’s guidelines but for non-residents they are “may issue”. As a non-resident from Washington State, this is the part that concerned me since Sheriffs are free to deny a permit for any reason, including they just don’t want to issue them.

Oregon, unlike most states that offer concealed weapons permits, does not recognize permits from any other state. If you want to carry concealed in Oregon you must have their Concealed Handgun License and they will only issue them to residents of Oregon and the 4 states that share a border with Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California. If you are from any of the other 45 states you are out of luck.

Part of the application requirements is that you have taken a “Gun Safety class”. I satisfied this by taking a class from Asher Investigations that was held at the Kennewick Ranch and Home on January 5th. The class cost $85 and included the 5 hours of instruction needed to get your Utah and Oregon permits, the applications required, finger printing and a passport-type photo to send in with the Utah application. (Why Utah will be the subject of another post.)

Once the gun safety class was out of the way, I needed to get an appointment with an Oregon Sheriff’s Office. Since the closest Oregon county to the Tri-Cities is Umatilla County, right across the Columbia River, I was glad to read on various forums and as well as from the class instructor that the Umatilla County Sheriff is 2nd Amendment ‘friendly’ unlike some Oregon Sheriffs who look for reasons not to issue Concealed Handgun Licenses to non-residents. Most of the eastern Oregon Sheriffs have been good about issuing concealed weapon licenses to qualified non-residents.

The following Monday I attempted to call the Umatilla County Sheriff Office a number of times but only was able to leave a voice mail. After waiting most of the day for a call back I found the office’s email address online (civil@co.umatilla.or.us) and sent a request for an appointment at their next available time. Within 45 minutes I had a response and confirmed with them an appointment 6 weeks in the future in mid February. If I had been smart, I would have contacted the Sheriff’s Office for an appointment when I signed up for my class rather than waiting till after attending the class.

Now I wait for the license (or denial). They informed me that they are so far backlogged that it would probably be 90 days before I would receive my Oregon Concealed Handgun License. Oh well, I wait.


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Jan 292013
 

conceal carry Where can you legally carry a pistol/handgun, loaded or unloaded, concealed or not while in Washington State? Even though the title of the following RCW (Revised Code of Washington) is “Carrying Firearms”, it only deals with handguns not all firearms and primarily with respect to conceal carry on the person and handguns in vehicles.

RCW 9.41.050 – Carrying firearms

(1)(a) Except in the person’s place of abode or fixed place of business, a person shall not carry a pistol concealed on his or her person without a license to carry a concealed pistol (CPL).

Of the 3 rules in this section this one probably needs no explanation. Stated simply, you cannot conceal a weapon on your person unless you have a conceal carry license or you are at your ‘abode or fixed place of business.’ Only thing I have not seen spelled out is if a motorhome or camping trailer would be considered an ‘abode’ either while parked or moving but since I have my conceal pistol license, I don’t have to worry about that question.

The other thing of note is that it does not specify that it is dealing with the concealment of loaded pistols and therefore having an unloaded pistol concealed on your person would be just as illegal. The exception to this is noted below, without a license you can ‘conceal’ a handgun in an ‘opaque container’ or ‘secure wrapper’.

(2)(a) A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless the person has a license to carry a concealed pistol and:
   (i) The pistol is on the licensee’s person,
   (ii) the licensee is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there, or
   (iii) the licensee is away from the vehicle and the pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.

I have seen quite a bit of discussion on this rule. Most of the confusion is because people don’t read it correctly, thinking there is an ‘and’ between (i) and (ii) instead of the implied ‘or’. First off, the only hassle-free way you may possess a loaded firearm in a vehicle is if you have a concealed pistol license. An exception to this, noted below, is if you are engaging in or on your way to an ‘outdoor activity’. Rule 3 below will deal with persons without a conceal carry permit. So, with a conceal permit, part (i) says that if the loaded handgun is on your person then you are fine. Part (ii) says the loaded handgun can be anywhere in the car as long as the licensee is also be in the car. This means the pistol does not have to be out of sight or concealed. It can be on the seat, in the glove box, or anywhere you choose to place it as long as you are in the vehicle. Part (iii) is the only other possible situation, if the licensee leaves the vehicle, the loaded pistol can be left in the vehicle as long as the vehicle is locked and the pistol is not visible from outside the vehicle.

(3)(a) A person at least eighteen years of age who is in possession of an unloaded pistol shall not leave the unloaded pistol in a vehicle unless the unloaded pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.

Finally, if you don’t have a concealed pistol license, then to have a handgun in the vehicle it must be unloaded and you must be at least 18 years old. If you are going to leave the handgun in an unattended vehicle, the vehicle must be locked and the unloaded handgun must be concealed from view.

So, Washington may be an ‘open carry’ state, but when you get in your car, the handgun can no longer be loaded if you do not have a concealed pistol license. I find it interesting that the definition of ‘loaded’ (RCW 9.41.010 does not specify any significant physical separation of the ammo from the handgun. If the magazine has been removed and the handgun does not have a round in the chamber the handgun is considered unloaded even if both the handgun and the ammo are in the same carrying case or glove box.

The next RCW lists exceptions to the above laws, two of which apply to us regular citizens.

RCW 9.41.060 – Exceptions to restrictions on carrying firearms.

The provisions of RCW 9.41.050 shall not apply to:

(8) Any person engaging in a lawful outdoor recreational activity such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, or horseback riding, only if, considering all of the attendant circumstances, including but not limited to whether the person has a valid hunting or fishing license, it is reasonable to conclude that the person is participating in lawful outdoor activities or is traveling to or from a legitimate outdoor recreation area;

This odd exception seems to be saying that a loaded pistol may be carried on the person or in the vehicle by anyone either engaging in any outdoor activity or on their way to or from such activity. In all the reading I have done I have not figured out how such a broad exception got written into the law.

(9) Any person while carrying a pistol unloaded and in a closed opaque case or secure wrapper;

It must be remembered that this is an exception and not a ‘rule’. A pistol is not considered ‘concealed’ if it is in an opaque case such as a plastic box like you get when you buy your gun or in a secure wrapper which I have seen described as a backpack. In other words, you are allowed to carry a ‘concealed’ unloaded pistol using either of these two methods, since without this rule you could not carry a pistol out of a store without breaking law unless you carried it in plain sight. This rule has nothing to do with how the handgun must be stored in the car, otherwise it would have been put it RCW 9.41.050 and not here in the exceptions to that section.

In a future post we will look at specific places that you can and cannot carry a handgun in Washington State.

Legal Disclaimer: We make every effort to provide correct information on this site. However, the legal landscape surrounding gun laws is fluid and subject to a myriad of political and legal opinions. Therefore, any and all information you glean from this site should be treated as just my opinion and not relied upon unless independently verified!


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Jan 062013
 

States that honor an Oregon Conceal Carry License

States that honor an Oregon Conceal Carry License

I have had my Washington Concealed Pistol License (CPL) for over 10 years and decided it was time to get a conceal carry license for Oregon as well. According to USACarry.com, my Washington CPL is currently recognized by 25 other states but our neighbor to the south, Oregon, is not one of them. Oregon, unlike almost ever other state, does not recognize concealed weapons permits from any other state. So, to carry a pistol either in the car or on your person, you must have a conceal carry license from Oregon.

We travel extensively through Oregon both on our way from eastern Washington to the Oregon and Washington coast and to visit family down in Boise, Idaho. We also enjoy camping and hiking in many Oregon State Parks as well as the numerous scenic areas in northeastern Oregon. Without an Oregon conceal carry license, before crossing the state line I must make sure to store my pistol in the trunk so as not to get in trouble if I happen to get pulled over for a faulty tail light or whatnot.

Oregon is a ‘shall issue’ state for Oregon residents only. ‘Shall Issue’ means that the local sheriff will (must) issue a conceal carry license to those who meet the Oregon conceal carry licensing requirements. To receive a non-resident license, applicants must either 1) own or lease property in Oregon or 2) be a resident of one of the four states contiguous to Oregon; California, Nevada, Idaho, and Washington. Non-resident applicants must meet the same requirements as Oregon residents plus submit a letter addressed to the sheriff explaining why they ‘need’ to carry concealed in the sheriff’s county. Oregon law says the sheriff ‘may issue’ conceal carry licenses to qualified non-residents at his discretion. If the sheriff is a proponent of the Second Amendment then you have a good chance of having your license approved, if the sheriff does not believe in the right for citizens to keep and bear arms, then you had better apply in a different county.

The sheriff offices do not allow you to submit an conceal carry application by mail and most require non-residents to set an appointment to bring in the application. When calling my nearby sheriff’s office, I was only able to leave a voice mail and did not get a call back that day. I ended up sending an email and was pleasantly surprised to get a response within the hour with a date and time, even though it was 6 weeks in the future. If you plan on getting an Oregon conceal carry license, don’t wait till you have taken the class to set your appointment.


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