Gun Registration In Oregon: What You Need To Know

Gun registration is a sensitive topic for Second Amendment supporters. Most gun owners do not want the government to have a massive registration program for all firearms or gun owners in the country for fear that such a database would be used in the future for confiscation. But suppose you just acquired a new firearm in Oregon, and you want to make sure you’re doing things by the book. Your wife gave you a hunting rifle for Christmas. Your boyfriend gave you a self-defense pistol for your birthday. Your uncle passed, and you inherited his shotgun. Do you need to register your gun in Oregon?

Oregon Gun Rights Attorney

Gun Registration in The United States

Gun laws in the United States are a complex patchwork of federal, state, county, and municipal laws, codes, and regulations.  At the national level, there is no gun registration scheme or requirement. In fact, collection of firearm or purchaser records with indefinite detention of those records is expressly prohibited by the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) which revised many provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. In relevant part:

No such rule or regulation prescribed [by the Attorney General] after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.

Gun Registration in Select States

According to ConcealedCarry.com, the following states have some form of registration (either for all firearms or some select types or models of firearms such as handguns or so-called “assault rifles”):

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York

Gun Registration in Oregon

Unlike some states, Oregon does not require that you register your firearms through any sort of government gun registration program. Private party gun sales without a background check are illegal in Oregon, but provided that you’ve acquired the gun lawfully as a purchase through an FFL, or you’ve acquired the gun as a gift from a spouse or domestic partner, parent or stepparent, child or stepchild, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt or uncle, first cousin, niece or nephew, or the spouse or domestic partner of any of those people listed, then you do not need to register the firearm with anyone. In fact, if you went to try and register the firearm, you’d find that there is no government agency that will take your information, they wouldn’t know what to do with the information if they received it, and there’d be no central place to store that information. This is because Oregon doesn’t not have a governmental gun registration program.

Now, eagle-eyed readers may think that list of people above (i.e. that long list of family members), was a bit of a sarcasm. But that’s actually a comprehensive list of the people per Oregon law (ORS 166.435) who can lawfully transfer a firearm to you without having to go through Oregon’s background check system. This means that the following transfers would be unlawful and although registration is not needed, a background check and transfer through a licensed dealer would be:

  • Your girlfriend or boyfriend who does not live with you gives you a Ruger Mark IV .22LR pistol for Christmas,
  • At your retirement party, your coworkers gift to you the Berretta over-under shotgun you’ve always wanted for trap,
  • A good friend of yours gives you a Glock 19 for your birthday (hey, you’ve got very generous friends).

Alternatives to Registration in Oregon

Some people understandably would like for there to be some form of government registration of firearms so that a lawful owner and possessor could have some sort of record of who the firearm belongs to. For example, some people would like to have an official record of a firearm being theirs so that they can track it and report it if stolen (similar to titling your car or truck at the DMV). This would certainly make locating the rightful owner easier if the firearm were stolen. Given that firearms are sometimes used in crimes, previous owners may also wish to have a record of when they sold the firearm to someone else– to absolve themselves of any liability if it were later used dangerously or in a crime.

One alternative to registering a firearm with the government is to keep what is called a Personal Firearms Record. Now, a good example of this booklet is actually put out by the ATF, but that doesn’t mean you turn it into them or even make it accessible to them. But a side benefit of having this record in case one of your firearms was ever lost, stolen, or used in a crime, is that you can also keep track of it’s operational history (to diagnose problems), and o know when to replace certain parts (a barrel for your favorite AR-15, for example). A fancier version of this can easily be put into MS Excel or Google Sheets so you can update the list with ease.

Lastly, if you have homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or a personal items policy, it’s a good idea to give them a description of your firearms and their value so that they are properly insured in case of theft or fire.

Oregon Firearms Attorney

Do you have a question about Oregon gun laws that is not answered here? If so, please contact our office for a consultation at reasonable cost. It’s certainly less expensive than having to defend yourself from a criminal charge related to firearms.


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