City Manager Monthly

June 2014 Message

The Current State of Open Carry Laws
A message from guest writer Police Chief Jon Sassaman

Recently, there has been discussion at City Council regarding laws related to the “open-carry” of firearms. The discussion stems from a recent event where a person was observed walking through Cloverland Park with a firearm on the person’s hip. More conversation will occur at Human Services Committee in the near future; however it is reasonable that providing some information about the current laws would be beneficial. Know that firearms issues are very complex and the information below is intended to briefly provide a “high level” overview of information.

The 2nd Amendment of the United States of America Constitution grants the right to people to keep and bear arms which shall not be infringed upon. In 2010, the United States Supreme Court (McDonald v. Chicago) ruled a ban on ownership of handguns within a private home was unconstitutional, affirming the 2nd Amendment applies to States and therefore gun ownership is an individual right and it cannot be taken away by the individual States.

Article I, Section 27 of the State of Oregon Constitution echoes in part the 2nd Amendment and grants the people of Oregon the right to bear arms. The State of Oregon enacted ORS 166.170 which preempts local governments from regulating firearms or enacting civil or criminal ordinances relating to firearms. Any ordinances contrary to ORS 166.170 are void. However, the State of Oregon did carve out a couple of very narrow areas where local government may regulate the discharge of firearms and the possession of a loaded firearm in public places. All that said, here’s the practical reality as the laws stand today:

A person with or without a concealed handgun license (CHL), may open-carry a firearm (loaded or unloaded) in public places in Corvallis. This means it is legal to “open-carry” a firearm so long as the firearm can be easily observed, such as on a person’s hip without a coat or anything that covers the firearm.

It is considered “Unlawful Possession of a Firearm” (a Crime) for a person to knowingly carry any firearm concealed upon their person or possess a handgun that is concealed and readily accessible to the person within any vehicle, unless that person has obtained and physically possesses a Concealed Handgun License, which are obtained through the local Sheriff’s Office. 

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Last updated: 8/24/2014 8:22:22 PM