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Obtaining your CHL

CHLs are handled by your county sheriff. You will need to contact your county sheriff's office to get the application form. Many sheriffs have these forms available online. Check your sheriff's website. The form will ask for basic information to determine your eligibility, mostly questions on criminal history, residence status in the USA etc.

In addition, it will list the items that you need to bring with you when returning the form to apply for your CHL. The basic list is:

When you take a training course, be certain to get a certificate with your name exactly the same as it appears on the identity document (usually driver's license). While not essential, it makes life easier for you and for the person verifying your identity and documentation.

Some sheriffs ask for additional information on their forms. The most common addition is asking you to provide some number of "character references". In many (most?) cases, these are never actually used, but just in case they are it is wise to let the people whose names you use know, and even more importantly, know how they will respond! Think of this as giving references for a job. You would not list someone that you knew, or suspected might give you a bad reference.

For non-US citizens, you will need to produce evidence of your right to residence in the USA (e.g. green card), and some evidence of your intent to obtain US citizenship. [For more information for non-US citizens click here]

Once you have completed your form and assembled all the required paperwork, the next step is a visit to your local sheriff's office to make the application.

How this works depends upon your local sheriff. In some cases there are dedicated staff who will receive and process your application at any time during normal working hours. In other cases specific times and days are set aside to process CHL applications. In other cases, you will have to mail in the completed form and wait for an appointment to go into the office. Check the process and times when you pick up your application form. Counties with large populations will probably require an appointment.

Do not take your gun with you when you go to the sheriff's office.

When you make the application, you will be photographed and your fingerprints taken. Depending upon how well financed your county sheriff's office is, they may be equipped with the latest "no-ink" fingerprinting systems. In other cases you will get inky fingers (but they always provide you with the materials to clean up, and the ink comes off easily when the right cleaning materials are used).

Once the application process is complete, they will send you away with a warning that it can take up to 45 days to process the background check, and that until you receive the CHL you may not carry a concealed firearm. In many cases, processing is complete in much less time.

Renewal

The Oregon CHL is valid for four years, after which it must be renewed. Most counties do not send any form of renewal notice. It is up to you to remember when your CHL expires, and to apply for a renewal sometime in the 30 days before it expires.

This requires a trip to the sheriff's office. If they decide that the photo that they have is out of date they will take another photo. They will take your old CHL and give you a receipt which acts as a temporary replacement for your CHL (I would not rely upon the receipt in states that recognize an Oregon CHL). The replacement arrives in the mail a few days to weeks later. If your CHL has expired (even by one day) when you apply for the renewal, the receipt will not have the endorsement to substitute for your CHL until the new one arrives and you will not be able to carry concealed until it does. Make certain to apply before your CHL expires.

Carrying the license

Make certain that you have the licence with you when you are carrying concealed, or when open carrying in an area that has local ordinances forbidding it. Oregon law doesn't require that you produce the license, but it does give the police the authority to assume that you don't have one unless they see it.