The Oregon Legislature has passed a new gun bill over the objection of all Republicans and some Democrats. While OGO strongly opposed the policy, and worked tirelessly to defeat it, we have known that the supermajority would eventually pass something to appease their donors.

SB 554 bans possession of guns in public buildings by CHL holders and requires secure storage under certain conditions. It becomes operative on the 91st day after the legislature adjourns (likely late September or early October this year).

Fortunately, the new law is not as expansive as earlier versions. The “public buildings ban” was reduced to include only the Oregon Capitol, Portland International Airport, and school districts (including school grounds) on an opt-in basis. CHL holders found in violation of this law will be subject to a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony.

The mandatory storage provision changed “strict liability” to “per se negligence” and added an exception if a gun in stolen from a person’s home. Gun rooms were also added to the bill as an acceptable means of safe storage, along with cable locks, trigger locks, and safes, and there are provisions for minors’ unsupervised use when hunting or if the minor is the owner of the firearm.

The last major gun legislation to pass the Oregon Legislature was the Extreme Risk Protection Order (a.k.a. “red flag”) policy enacted by SB 719 (2017). That policy allows family members and police officers to petition a court for temporary removal of guns from at-risk individuals.

Outline of SB 554

Firearm Storage and Transfer

  • “Control” means the firearm is close enough to prevent another person from obtaining the firearm or the owner is in their own residence and the residence is secure.
  • When not under control of owner, possessor, or authorized person, firearms must be secured with lock or in a locked container or gun room. (Handgun cannot be left unattended in a vehicle and within view of persons outside the vehicle.)
  • Violation is Class C violation (if obtained by a minor, it’s a Class A violation).
  • If violation results in injury to person or property within two years, the violation constitutes per se negligence, and presumption of negligence cannot be overcome by showing the owner acted responsibly.
  • “Per se negligence” does not apply if firearm was obtained by person unlawfully entering or remaining in a dwelling.
  • Loss or theft must be reported within 72 hours. If there is no means of reporting, it must be reported within 24 hours of means of reporting becoming available.
  • Minors must be supervised by owner or designee with consent of minor’s parent or guardian except when hunting or target shooting (does not apply if the minor is the owner of the firearm).

Regulation of Firearms in Public Buildings

  • School boards (public K-12, colleges, universities) may adopt policies banning CHL holders from possession of guns on school grounds.
  • A clearly visible sign must be posted and the school district must provide notice on its website.
  • Adds to definition of “public building” a passenger terminal of a commercial airport with over one million boardings per year (a person can still transport as checked baggage in accordance with federal law).
  • If a person possesses a firearm in the Oregon Capitol, a commercial airport described above, or a school district adopting a policy limiting possession by CHL holders, and that person proves they had a CHL at the time of the offense, the person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Concealed Handgun License Fees

  • Increases fees from $50 for issuance and renewal of CHL to $100 for issuance and $75 for renewal.

Effective Date

  • Takes effect on the 91st day after the date on which the 2021 regular session of the Eighty-first Legislative Assembly adjourns.