Carrying a Handgun in Oregon
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Once you have your CHL, you can just drop a gun in your pocket and otherwise behave as normal. However, you then stand a chance of getting into trouble unless you pay a bit more attention.

Understand the law

Before starting to carry in Oregon, it's a really good idea to become familiar with Oregon firearms laws. One way to do this is to read the statutes. See the links section of this website a link to the Oregon Revised Satutes (ORS).

The ORS are written surprisingly clearly for something (mainly) created by lawyers. However, remember that there are still a number of local ordinances that can be imposed by different localities, so you may need to refer to those too, unless you have your CHL, which for most practical purposes overrides any local ordinances.

You should also bear in mind that in practice the written law is modified by judicial case law. In most cases this is simply clarifying areas left poorly (or not at all) defined by the text of the law itself. But in some cases, case law may end up modifying the law in such a way that a simple reading of the text of the law may not be sufficient to keep you out of trouble.

For a definitive answer to any legal question about Oregon law you really should seek advice from a competent lawyer. However, that can be expensive and time consuming, and for most practical purposes referring to something like by Don Leach specifically regarding concealed carry, or Oregon firearms law. Keep in mind though, good as these books are, they are a snapshot in time and the law can change quickly and without notice.

Open carry

Oregon is an open carry state. Under state law, there are no restrictions on open carry. However, when Oregon implemented its conceald carry laws, and its preemption statute effectively overriding local laws, it left a few openings for localities to implement restrictions on the carrying of loaded firearms in public places. As you may expect, the larger metropolitan areas have taken advantage of this, and implemented local ordinances effectively banning the carrying of loaded firearms in public. Interestingly, if you have an Oregon CHL, the state law overrides the local law, and a CHL allows you to open carry in an area which would be off-limits without it.

If you are interested in open carry in areas where it is forbidden by local law (Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Eugene etc.) you should certainly get your CHL first. Note that in their infinite wisdom, judges have declared that your front porch and the interior of your car are "public places" for the purposes of these laws.

Concealed carry

Oregon is a relatively friendly state for concealed carry. There are few areas that are off-limits, and basically no restrictions on how you carry.

Unlike some states, there are no issues with having to keep your gun absolutely concealed at all times. If it becomes visible at any point, it is covered by open carry, and open carry is ok anywhere that concealed carry is. So you don't have to be paranoid about concealment. At least, not from the legal point of view. There might be practical reasons why you should consider it important, for example, not attracting attention of people who will feel it their duty to call the police if they even think someone has a gun.


As a general rule you should carry your gun in a properly constructed holster of some variety, not only to keep it secure, but because it is not unknown for people to have accidents when trying to pull a gun out of a pocket, purse or other location under stress and in a hurry.

It is also worth remembering a a holster is a clue to law enforcement that you may be one of the good guys, since most criminals that carry firearms don't use a holster, because they may want to get rid of their gun in a hurry. Tossing the gun away doesn't achieve much if they are left with a holster, and removing that is typically a lot more work.

Exactly how you carry your gun will end up being a somewhat personal choice, but for most people some form of belt holster usually works best. If you choose a decent manufacturer such as Galco, DeSantis or BlackHawk you should get many years of trouble free service from it.

On the occasions when a belt holster won't work for you, you may want to consider something a little more unconventional such as a purse holster or a fanny pack Which are specially constucted to carry a concealed handgun securely, but relatively easily accessible. These are also convenient for carrying a pepper spray, which is something I generally reccommend since it gives a nice intermediate option between harmless and lethal, and will probably deal perfectly adequately with 90% of the occasions on which you might otherwise need to draw your gun.

Off-Limits areas

As mentioned above, the Oregon CHL has very few restricted areas (although there are moves afoot to change this). The following are explicityly no-go areas for concealed carry: