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 ( 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 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, 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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